A monthly event at a municipal court in Lewisville is opening up the conversation for teenagers and their parents about topics ranging from drinking and driving to cyberbullying to active shooter situations.
September’s “Teen Talks” discussion, put on by Lewisville/Flower Mound Municipal Courts Teen Court, will be held Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. to cover what to know in an active shooter situation, led by Lewisville Police Officer Gregory Hopper. Teenagers receive volunteer hours or community service hours for attending.
If teens bring a parent or a friend, they can be credited for additional hours and a majority of the teens do bring two people, Juvenile Case Manager and Teen Court Coordinator Pam Everitt said. The Teen Talks are more popular during the school year when teens are searching for volunteer opportunities they can use for college applications or student organizations.
Everitt hopes the Teen Talks, which she began in January 2017, will help parents understand what issues face teens today and help them initiate conversations with their teenagers.
“We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback,” Everitt said. “Parents say, ‘I didn’t know this’ or ‘I didn’t realize this’ and ‘Thank you for bringing this to our attention.’”
Past topics have included human trafficking, drug awareness/overdose, sexting and underage drinking.
“[Teenagers] are probably not making parents aware about these different topics and I believe they need to come listen to what’s relevant,” Everitt said. “For example, cyberbullying, sexting and the topics we cover going on in schools and what the up-to-date topics are. They need to be aware so they know what their young people are going through.”
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Everitt chooses the monthly topics through more than five years of experience of working with teenagers, knowing the court cases, and keeping in touch with local law enforcement.
Each topic is led by different speakers and there are often question-and-answer sessions at the end of the event, but she said she makes sure the event ends by 7 p.m.
Everitt gets the word out with the help of Teen Court’s social media pages and Lewisville ISD. Turnout ranges between 30 to 50 people and she hopes there will be even more turnout in the future.