Emergency Motions Filed In Case Of Birmingham Teen Locked Up For Not Doing Her Schoolwork

By WWJ Newsradio 950

(WWJ) Emergency motions have been filed asking a Family Court judge to reconsider a decision to send a teenager to a juvenile detention center for not doing her schoolwork at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

WWJ's Charlie Langton reports no decison has yet been made by Oakland County Judge Mary Ellen Brennan.

The 15-year-old named Grace, who attended Birmingham Groves High School in Birmingham, Michigan, was sent to Oakland County Children's Village in Pontiac in mid-May.  

The judge cited a "failure to submit to any schoolwork and getting up for school." The judge called Grace a “threat to (the) community,” because of a theft charge and a previous attack on her mother.

However, speaking to Langton on Thursday, Judge Brennan's husband, attorney Ed Lennon, said it's a misconception that the teen was locked up over the homework issue. 

Lennon said it is alleged that Grace assaulted her mother multiple times.

"And one of the choices my wife had to make is was she going to send her back to the home, while there was a stay-at-home order in place, so that those two people could be in the same house, and her mother may potentially be subject to more assaults by her daughter," Lennon said.

Meanwhile, more people are joining the call for the teen's release.

Members of a group called Michigan Liberation took part in a car caravan traveling from the school to the Oakland County complex in Pontiac. Along with freeing the teen, organizers also want any charges dropped.  

The mother of Grace released the following statement through her Attorney, Jon Biernat.

"While we attempt to untangle the web that now confines my daughter and keeps her away from me, her family and the support that she needs, I want to thank the seemingly endless number of people who have expressed their concern and offered their support. This situation is an emotional challenge, but is also a window into the brokenness that demands and deserves attention and repair as to prevent other children and families from being negatively impacted by a system that is supposed to offer protection and support."

Michigan's schools went from in-person to online at home under order of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Birmingham Schools has said it is not a party to this case, and that no student should be punished for missed work during the pandemic.