Grace, the Michigan teen sent to juvenile detention for failing to complete her schoolwork, is off probation and her case is officially closed.
An Oakland County family court removed Grace from probation on Tuesday, Aug. 11, reported ProPublica. She was on probation for attacking her mother and two instances of theft at her school.
The 15-year-old’s story grabbed headlines after ProPublica shared the details of her case in a story last month. The writer only identified the girl by her middle name, but confirmed she is Black.
Grace suffers from ADHD and a mood disorder and she was receiving accommodations from her school before the COVID-19 outbreak. When the pandemic forced her into remote learning, those services were not transferred. Before a case worker filed probation violation papers against her, Grace and her mother, identified also by her middle name, Charisse, both admitted they were overwhelmed by the changes.
In May, Oakland County Judge Mary Ellen Brennan ordered Grace into custody for “failure to submit to any schoolwork and getting up for school.”
Brennan also deemed Grace a “threat to community, as original charge was assault and theft.”
On July 31, the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered Grace’s release from Children’s Village, a facility located in Detroit. The ruling resulted in this week’s livestreamed “accelerated review hearing,” from an original Sept. 8 date. During the accelerated hearing, Brennan decided Grace did not need court supervision and declared the case “appropriately terminated.”
“Going forward, the court is hopeful that [Grace] has the tools and does make different choices in her home and at school.”
Before the decision was handed down, Grace’s attorneys requested Brennan recuse herself, but their motion was denied. The judge stood by her decision to send Grace to juvenile detention because the facility’s programming was “designed to create a sustained change in behavioral patterns.” She told the court the teen was receiving therapy and worked with an animal shelter to prepare dogs to be adopted. Brennan chastised the state appeals court for its July decision.
“The Court of Appeals order interrupted that treatment plan and damage to that plan has been done that cannot be repaired by this court,” she said.
Charisse told ProPublica she wants to celebrate the news and will work with her daughter to “regroup on the goals that we have set for each other.”
Eddie Herron, Grace’s current case worker, reported she “has been doing very well,” and is still seeking therapy. He also complimented Charisse for working “diligently” to secure services including family and individual therapy and parenting classes.
“They both realize the importance of making positive decisions,” Herron said during Tuesday’s hearing. “At this point, I think it is best for the family to move forward and utilize the tools with the support in place in the community.”