Photos from the Georgia Preparatory Academy Rome 2013 Open House DJJ Staff  at:  9/20/2013  


On September 18th, the facility and staff of the Georgia Preparatory Academy Rome at the Bob Richards RYDC was proud to host their annual Open House to parents, local dignitaries, and juvenile justice officials. Among those who attended included:

Juvenile Court Judge Gregory and Elaine Price
DJJ Board Chair Elaine Snow
DJJ Deputy Commissioner Sarah Draper
DJJ Deputy Commissioner Shawanda Reynolds-Cobb
Elbert Shaw RYDC Director Bobby Hughes
Atlanta YDC Director Darius Binion
DJJ Assistant Director of Programs William Cesareo

Special thanks goes out to Dr. Muriel Horne, DJJ Regional Principal and Mrs. Gail Wise, Bob Richards RYDC Director for helping to support the Open House activities.

Dr. Muriel Horne, Regional Principal and Mrs. Elizabeth Stafford, Lead Teacher

Mrs. Gail Wise, Bob Richards RYDC Director and Mr. Bobby Hughes, Elbert Shaw RYDC Director

Mr. William Cesareo, Assistant Director of Programs and Mr. Coy Satterfield, Programs Coordinator

Mrs. Elaine Price, Judge Gregory Price -Juvenile Court, and Rome Chief of Police Elaine Snow, DJJ Board Chairman

DJJ Board Chair Elaine Snow and Deputy Commissioner Sarah Draper

Mr. William Cesareo, Assistant Director of Programs and Sergeant Wanda Horton, Hearing Officer

Open House Presentation

Mr. Noren speaking with parents and students

Ms. Henderson, Education Clerk and Ms. Cain, Math Teacher

Sergeant Wendy Owens and Shawanda Reynolds-Cobb, Deputy Commissioner





     Reflections of the 2013 Aaron Cohn Open House DJJ Staff  at:  10/11/2013  


On September 7th, a large group of special guests including Assistant Commissioner Mark Sexton, Deputy Commissioner Sarah Draper, Deputy Commissioner Shawanda Reynolds-Cobb, Financial Officer Sonya Allen, Regional Director Dr. Rufus Johnson, and Instructional Director Keisha Douglas, the Aaron Cohn RYDC division of the Georgia Preparatory Academy held an Open House to a group of parents, grandparents, siblings, and other relatives of the youth of the facility. Also in attendance were Aaron Cohn RYDC Director Anthony Minigan, Assistant Director Roderick Haugabook, and teaching and other local staff members.

DJJ Assistant Commissioner Mark Sexton, when speaking to the attendees, stressed the importance of education in general and the plans of the Georgia Preparatory Academy to integrate new technology into the classrooms and media centers. Part of the technological upgrade planned includes Promethean boards for teachers and Kindle readers available for youth in the libraries.

After the initial program, visitors were given a tour of the classrooms at Aaron Cohn where they could learn more about the curriculum taught, grading procedures, and the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) program. Visitors were also treated to an acapella version of the Boyz II Men song, "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye" which was dedicated to the parents of the youth of Aaron Cohn.

The teachers and support staff at Aaron Cohn would like to thank everyone involved in making this a successful Open House for all who attended.





     Do You Know the Law? Teen News on the Law for Georgia DJJ Staff  at:  9/18/2013  

Do You Know the Law? Teen News on the Law for Georgia


… that you may be arrested if you are under 21 years old and attend a party where other people are drinking, even if you have not been drinking?



…if you think doing something might be a crime – don’t do it. It probably is a crime, particularly if you gave it any consideration.


… that a person under 21 years old can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if that driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is just .02 grams or higher? (The adult BAC level for a DUI charge is .08 in Georgia.)


This issue of DJJ’s “Do You Know the Law?” teen legal forum was envisioned by Commissioner Avery D. Niles to help Georgia teens become better informed about our state legal system and to avoid negative encounters with the state juvenile justice system.

DJJ is partnering with nationally recognized author J. Tom Morgan to use excerpts from the former DeKalb County District Attorney’s book entitled, “A Teenager’s Guide to Georgia Law”. As a child advocate, attorney J. Tom Morgan compiled his guide to defend young people against becoming victims and perpetrators of crimes. Relying on real-life cases from his career experience as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney, examples in Morgan’s book often bring reactions of disbelief and dismay from both teens and parents who read about the consequences of reckless teen actions.

Attorney Morgan also titled his book, “Ignorance Is No Defense”. He and DJJ Commissioner Niles share a common concern for teens who don’t understand they’re responsible for violations of law, even if they don’t realize their actions are illegal before they commit the crime.

With the author’s permission, DJJ is sharing excerpts of Georgia laws that can impact the freedom of Georgia teens every day. But this feature is meant as a guide, not as legal advice. Anyone who’s in trouble with the law should talk to their lawyer.

EXAMPLE: Here’s an example of a common “Ignorance Is No Defense” situation involving marijuana that can seriously affect Georgia teens.

DID YOU KNOW? Did you know that passing a joint to a friend is a felony and that passing a joint to a friend on school property is a separate felony?

SCENARIO: Person A, who is 17 years old, shares a joint with a friend on school property on a summer night when school is not in session. Person A is arrested by the police and charged with two crimes: (1) distributing marijuana (a felony with punishment of one-to-ten years in prison) .. and (2) distributing marijuana within a school safety zone (a separate felony with punishment up to twenty years in prison).

Prior to Person A’s arrest, Person A did not know that sharing a joint with a friend on school property violated two different Georgia laws.

OUTCOME: Person A cannot use “ignorance of the law” as a defense!

DJJ’S monthly newsletter and “News & Views” on-line publication will feature more examples of serious criminal laws that can impact Georgia juveniles. Visit this “KNOW THE LAW” link for more examples of surprising “No Defense” scenarios in Georgia. A portion of the proceeds from the “Teenager’s Guide to Georgia Law” are contributed to the private, non-profit Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, Inc. which provides free treatment for youth who are victims of abuse.

For more information about “Ignorance Is No Defense,” visit the author online at this link: For additional details on "Do You Know the Law?", visit





     Views from the Georgia Preparatory Academy-Rockdale 2013 Open House DJJ Staff  at:  9/17/2013  

Georgia Preparatory Academy -- Rockdale 2013 Open House

With the motto of “Providing Rock Solid Education”, the Georgia Preparatory Academy-Rockdale (GPA-Rockdale) hosted its very first school Open House on September 11th. As part of the inaugural launch, the Rockdale family was proud to welcome many distinguished guests including DJJ Commissioner and School Superintendent Avery Niles, Associate School Superintendent Dr. Audrey Armistad, Assistant Commissioner J. Mark Sexton, and Assistant Deputy Commissioner Miguel Fernandez. A great group of guests, faculty, parents, and volunteers also joined in the Open House activities.

Since opening, the teachers at GPA-Rockdale have been dedicated to helping students achieve academic, sporting, cultural, and life-long learning skills. Teachers at Rockdale are motivated to create a successful school year in 2013, bright with the opportunities that come with a new facility.

Among the many presentations that took place during this month’s Open House included a Title I presentation by Teacher of the Year and Lead Teacher Kendall Douglas. Carrie Hamilton also spoke on how parents could get involved with Project FACE, the Faith and Community Engagement Project, dedicated to volunteer activity. DJJ Commissioner Avery Niles also spoke giving Words of Encouragement to parents, youth, and employees alike. A tour and one-on-one information sessions took place after the short program.

Special thanks for everyone who attended this great event and the Georgia Preparatory Academy-Rockdale staff for their strong efforts in educating the youth in their care.




     DJJ Career Opportunities: Views from the Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless Job Fair DJJ Staff  at:  9/10/2013  


On September 5th, the Department of Juvenile Justice participated with the Georgia Department of Labor in the 3rd Annual Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless Labor of Love Job Fair. Held at Turner Field's Gold Lot in Atlanta, the Labor of Love Job Fair aimed at connecting job seekers with potential employers and equipping them with the skills to compete in the labor market.

SMRT Officer Jesse Dewberry assists potential applicants

SMRT Officer Jesse Dewberry, HR Recruiter Melissa Jackson, and Program Coordinator Lalita Appling assist potential applicants

DJJ Career Fair Booth

Several thousand potential employees attended the Labor of Love Job Fair looking to gain employment in several different fields. Recruiters from the Department of Juvenile Justice directly spoke with approximately three hundred of the attendees.

Program Coordinator Lalita Appling and HR Recruiter Melissa Jackson speak to potential job applicants

The DJJ Facility Security Staff providing information to a potential applicant

SERT Officer Cory Jones and the Facility Security Staff at the Labor of Love Job Fair

A Facility Security staff member reviews a potential candidate's work application to DJJ

For more information on starting your career at the Department of Juvenile Justice, visit us online at For the latest job openings at DJJ, go to Special thanks to Statewide Security Risk Group Coordinator Monique Brandenburg for the photos and for her work with this career fair.





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