Youth Rights

Youth Empowerment

1. Green Party of Texas submitting

Wesson Gaige –,
Laura Palmer –,

2. Approval Process

These were submitted to be considered by our Annual State meeting held June 6-7, 2017.  The list submitted contained more points.  Not all were adopted. These were adopted as part of GPTX Platform on June 7, 2017 and were requested to be forwarded to GPUS to be included in the GPUS Platform.

3. Contact Person: (was authored by katija gruene)

Wesson Gaige
Cell – 214 906-2909,

4. 5. 6. Placement

This should be added as item K. in II. Social Justice / 8. Youth.  It is new and does not replace anything.

7. Other

Please advise if more is needed.


K. In agreement with Green parties worldwide, we fully support efforts of youth empowerment.

  • We call for the lowering of voting age to 16. This ensures that youth workers have their voices heard on equal ground with all other working people.
  • We oppose punitive age-based curfew laws.
  • We call for the restoration of the drinking age to 18.
  • We oppose the restriction of private cannabis usage based on age, and believe that no one should face charges for the possession and recreational use of cannabis.
  • In order to bring our state into line with the vast majority of the world, we call for the lowering of the age of consent to 16.
  • We support required representation of students aged 16 or older on local school boards
  • We strongly oppose the criminalization of youth, zero tolerance policies, and the explosion of the for-profit “troubled teen” and school-to-prison industries.
  • Anyone sentenced to a youth correctional facility, after being charged as a minor, must be released upon reaching their eighteenth birthday.
  • We demand American ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

27 thoughts on “Youth Rights”

  1. A certain carelessness, observable in the drafting of the amendment, may be due to its history. E. g., “In order to bring our state into line . . . ” referring presumably to Texas law, not Federal Law, might not be the business of the GPUS. So ultimately, the issue becomes one of States rights. And is of use for such discussions. Some of the problems are due to the indiscriminate us of 1st pers. pl. Thus while one might opposed to ” . . . .criminalization of youth, . . . and the explosion of the for-profit “trouble teen and school-to-prison industries.”, the rhetoric fails the test of policy setting. The record of the USA on some of the basic protocols on the use of children in warfare is as Obama pointed out shameful. But of course he did nothing about it. The idea of a policy on the treatment of ‘minors’ is important enough to take it up. But of course, much of this is already implied in the Platform and is not separate. It is less urgent and can be worked on further.

    1. I will rewrite them so that they are in line with a policy declaration by the GPUS. They aren’t intended to be specific to the state. Would you share with me the parts that are already part of the platform? I am not clear yet as to my role as the Platform Committee from Texas, but I think the Texas party would be glad to eliminate those issues that were redundant.

  2. I am a retired NC rep from NY and I have always supported the drinking age to be lowered to 18. You must also look into repealing the federal law as a part of the provision that force states to comply with the age of 21 or lose their federal highway funding. I would hope that GPUS has added a provision if it not to late to eliminate that provision. When I was between the 18-21 age range during the gulf war I called on the drinking age than to be lowered to 18;. If you are old enough to die in a war or be drafted you should be old enough to drink. Politicians also know that the 18-21 age range often do not vote so they do not take them seriously and if they vote they only vote during presidential elections and not municipal and or school board elections.

  3. I would also be interested in the clarification of the term ‘age of consent’.

    Is this proposal referring to the Wikileaks definition? “The age of consent is the age at which a person is considered to be legally competent to consent to sexual acts and is thus the minimum age of a person with whom another person is legally permitted to engage in sexual activity. The distinguishing aspect of the age of consent laws is that the person below the minimum age is regarded as the victim and his or her sex partner is regarded as the offender, unless both are underage. The purpose of setting an age of consent is to protect an underage person from sexual advances.

    It should not be confused with the age of majority, age of criminal responsibility, the voting age, the drinking age, the driving age, etc.”

  4. I am wondering if biological health & safety was considered in the proposal to lower the drinking age to 18 and in regards to marijuana as well?

    As an RN, I am concerned with lowering the drinking age to 18 again in light of the effects of alcohol on the brain, especially a developing brain which is not complete until around 24 years of age. Studies on the detrimental effects of alcohol on the brain have long been established.

    Also, according to the NIH, drunk-driving accidents dropped by 50 percent after the law was passed to raise the drinking age to 21. The greatest decline was among 16 to 20 year olds: approximately 37% of traffic fatalities in this age group were alcohol related in 2013 compared to more than 75 percent in the 1970s.

    And there is no consensus in studies on the safety of marijuana on the developing brain at this time. Just as with GMOs, the Precautionary Principle should be applied to marijuana or any substance that has not been sufficiently studied in regards to brain development.

    Sorry this is not fun info, but science should serve to inform our platform.

    GPVA Delegate

    1. I am of your mind on this Tina, and I appreciate the information on the reduction in driving deaths from alchohol.

      With regard to the marijuana, I recall it taking nearly a month for my mind to regain functioning on high level analytic issues when I gave up smoking marijuana at the age of 30. I was not happy with this motion, as I am skeptical that marijuana is harmless for the growth of children minds, and am a little unclear as to how to proceed now that I am a member of the Platform Committee from Texas.

  5. Unless our goal is to call for the total legalization of cannabis for all ages (as in, go ahead and fire up a dooby for your toddler if you want to), we need a little more specificity in this point:

    “We oppose the restriction of private cannabis usage based on age, and believe that no one should face charges for the possession and recreational use of cannabis.”

    Bringing the age limit there in line with the drinking age seems reasonable to me, especially given that we already call for lowering the drinking age. If that was the intention of the proposal we just need a quick reword; if the intention of the proposal was to legalize cannabis use for literally anyone of any age, I think that’s going to be a tougher amendment to approve.

    1. Thank you Tina. I think the opinions on this tend tend to be based on attitudes to children more than any scientific estimate of their capabilities

  6. I like the gist of this proposal.
    “We oppose punitive age-based curfew laws.” Then, what does that mean for non -punitive curfew laws? Do you oppose them too or not?

    YES, lower the ability to purchase alcohol to 18.
    I agree about the decriminalization of cannabis. I would lower the legal age to purchase cannabis to 18 yrs old where it is available for recreational use- This would be in line w/ the age required to purchase alcohol.

    Thanks for your consideration.

    1. Ooops, forgot this comment.

      This is a GPUS proposal and the 5th bullet point geared to TX isn’t appropriate to our platform. Hope that it is already in your own state’s platform.

  7. I think right now is powerfully timely to push for a reduced voting age and generalized age of majority. The young organizers of the “March for our Lives” have shown themselves to be the “adults in the room,” in stark contrast to most of those in office in Washington, who seem more driven by greed, ego, finger-pointing, and excuses than by a commitment to serve the people. The youth, in contrast, showed total commitment to inclusiveness, and to humble public service to a cause greater than the ego of any individual. It is important to lower the age of majority while the public image is informed by media coverage of advocacy the youth are organizing in such an exemplary fashion; my own experience is that the level of “maturity” (whatever that is) exhibited by most people aged 16 and 17 is in most ways comparable to that exhibited by people in their 20’s, 40’s, and 80’s. (A few people are immature all their lives, and show it at 16 just as they show it at 50. That should not taint our respect for 16-year-olds as a group.) Younger people will have longer to live with the consequences of decisions made today, and should have a voice in such decisions. Some would argue that the economic dependency of most youth should disqualify them for an equal voice. I believe that is irrelevant in the case of the young just as it is in the case of old people living on social security or pensions. All of us are enmeshed in a life cycle in which we can, in varying ways through different stages of our lives, contribute to the common good and benefit from that common good. Having 16 as an “age of majority” does clearly raise questions relative to such things as alcohol and age of consent. On the latter, if the age of consent were harmonized at 16 nationwide (which I think is justified once that becomes the standard “age of majority,” but requires that the “NO” of anyone at any age be honored, and violators held accountable), we might want to make an exception for paid sex work to avoid exploitation and pseudo-consent driven by economic pressure. Age of consent laws are needed primarily to protect people inherently powerless to meaningfully negotiate equal relationships, and I would hate to have a change intended to honor young people’s civil rights feed a trafficking industry conducted with no regard for such rights. I don’t have a firm opinion relative to when people should have legal access to alcohol, tobacco, or other substances, but in general believe that once an “age of majority” is established, with full rights of citizenship exercised at that age, any exceptions giving legal standing to higher ages for any activities need evidentiary findings to buttress any claim of a greater good that overrides the right to decide of the legally adult individual. If the science can clearly show that some substances are intrinsically more harmful or hazardous to people of certain ages, that might justify such findings. An awkward area that needs further discussion relates to how a younger “age of majority” might redefine such things as child labor laws in ways that empower younger workers without leading to their exploitation, or to premature pressure on young people to enter the work force full time at the expense of educational opportunities. Clearly, 16 as age of majority should presuppose the 16th birthday marking the end of the applicability of laws mandating their compulsory attendance at any educational institution, yet young voters should be supported in making the CHOICE to continue their educations. Summing up, there are a lot of follow-up issues that need to be debated and ironed out as a consequence of dropping the voting age to 16, but that should not keep us from doing it; the merits are too clear and the timing is too right; the newly empowered young voters must be full participants in, and, in fact, the driving force behind, the creation of the policies that we evolve to accompany this change. We have been through a similar process once before, when we dropped the voting age from 21 to 18, and I am glad we didn’t hesitate in making that change, despite the period of adjustment that followed. Let us prepare to welcome a new contingent of voters to the full participation in the crafting of national policy that they are so conspicuously earning!

  8. “In order to bring our state into line with the vast majority of the world, we call for the lowering of the age of consent to 16.”

    As already iterated above – can folks please clarify what is meant here by “age of consent”? I have concerns about lowering the age of sexual consent to 16, particularly with significantly older partners. This is a power imbalance. I would be open to a more specific adjustment to consent law. For example, individuals between 14 and 17 can affirmatively assent to sexual interaction with individuals up to two years older/younger, but no younger than 14.

    Second, could we wholly abolish correctional facilities for youth?

    Third, is abolishing the draft already on a different part of the platform?

  9. Relative to “Age of Consent,” many encounters and relationships are rife with power imbalances reagardless of age: differences in gender, economic status, physical strength, social sophistication, etc. The question here is at what age a person should have legally enforceable control over his or her body (which would also include the right to make decisions about medical care, etc.), and whether that control should automatically be acquired as a consequence of attaining political majority as a voting adult. Without advocating for any particular outcome, my thoughts on the process by which questions such as “Age of Consent” should be decided is that for all activities, substances, and opportunities, age of political majority should be the default option in the absence of evidentiary findings that call for the setting of a different (usually older) threshold, and that, while those policies should be subject to the concurrence of all Greens of all ages, the leadership role in adjusting other rights and responsibilities to a younger reset of voting age should be held by the younger voters (or voters-to-be) who are most directly affected by these policies. Where a case can be made that an older threshold is wise or needed (as may be the case with some substances, some aspects of labor law, etc.) make sure we have the opinions of greens of all ages, especially the ages most affected; the need for such follow-up process should not deter us from moving forward with lowering the voting age, which would itself be an incentive for the involvement of the newly enfranchised in setting the relevant policies. When it comes to “Age of Consent,” we need to hear the opinions of young adults as to up to what age they feel the need for blanket protection, and as of what age they would instead seek protection of their rights–to say yes, no, or to take the initiative.

    I share the distrust of what the previous commenter calls “Correctional facilities for youth,” and particularly of the private industry of places of confinement that promise to remold “wayward” youth, to which, with no due process, parents and others in positions of authority are lured to sending young people even without a criminal sentence, for non-crimes such as “attitude” or being LGB or T. When it comes to abolishing formal correctional institutions to which youth are sentenced, we need to be sure that such abolition would not lead to youth being sentenced to existing correctional facilities for adults, which would be an even worse fate. In general, Americans lock far too many people up, of all ages: 4% of the worlds people, but 25% of its prisoners in the “land of the free.”

    Abolish the draft, YES!! Our constitution is clear in prohibiting the imposition of involuntary servitude. Presently, although we have no active conscription, we do have mandatory registration, and this needs to be abolished, since it represents a list of people who could quickly be called into forced service based on a vote in Congress. It horrifies me that some “progressives” advocate a draft in the interest of stopping this nation’s illegitimate wars, the argument being that the Vietnam era draft filled the streets with young people whose lives were at stake, and that this halted the war. Since the Vietnam War continued for over a decade during which the draft was in place, with the deaths of over 50,000 Americans and over a million Vietnamese (some of whom are still dying from the contamination of their country), this sacrifice of liberty seems like an utterly ineffective way to bring about such a result. It is true that the present “poverty draft” is grossly unfair, but that is why we need to replace military adventures with a Green New Deal, so that jobless youth have constructive alternatives that won’t get them killed and won’t saddle them with the moral injury of having killed. By the way, now that combat has been opened to women, a reinstated draft would have to include them, doubling the damage and insuring that no segment of the population would be free from this moral injury. I would even be opposed to a civilian “National Service” requirement, because it would also be unconstitutional (involuntary servitude), and because the youth leading the march for all our lives have a much clearer grasp of our needed priorities than any adult institution that might presume to harness their efforts. Our youth need opportunities, not coercion!

  10. There’s a certain common sense and clarity to making the age of majority consistent for voting, drug use, and sexual consent. It seems 18 is the most generally accepted age of adulthood, altho’ it varies greatly, of course, from individual to individual. (Interestingly, a small survey taken by the student newspaper at Northern MI Univ. of whether students should be allowed to vote at 16 found the students asked unanimously saying 16 was too young and 18 was preferable.)

    I thought we were already on record opposing a military draft – but do think we should go further and also oppose mandatory registration. I also agree with Eric that we should oppose a “National Service” requirement.

  11. I support most of this proposal, except that I would suggest *everything* be lowered to 16, rather than just selectively. Including drug use.

    1. It would also bring us in line with Global Green Parties (such as The Green Party of England and Wales/The Green Party of Scotland, to suggest that the voting age be lowered to 16. That’s my favorite part of this.

  12. A conversation with George Reiter leads me to suggest that “We demand American ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.” be corrected to read ” . . . urge congressional . . .” It has been pointed out that the use of the word “demand” can be easily read as a declaration of helplessness.
    Furthermore, the metronymic use of “American” when what is referred to is the USA (c0ngress) is not appropriate in a U. N. context.

  13. I am seeing ideas all over the place in regard to this proposal. I feel that it is both not ready to be presented for a vote and that the various sections should be presented separately.

  14. The biggest piece of the “everything” to swallow might be whether 16, being the age of majority, would become, for those suspected of crimes, the age of transitioning from juvenile court to adult court, with conviction leading to adult punishments. Obviously, a system addicted to incarceration is unhealthy for all, and complete change in the age of majority needs to presuppose enactment of the Green Party’s prescription for total reform of our criminal justice system. The thought of people of 16 being sent to adult prisons as they currently exist could be a deal breaker, huge changes in our criminal justice system may need to precede, and be a prerequisite for, the lowering of the age of majority if it includes this in the package.

    That said, the presumption of innocence is actually stronger under our present system for adult suspects, while juvenile courts can operate less on evidence that proves a crime beyond a doubt, and more on what someone in a position of authority thinks is best for the suspect. If the Age of Majority is indeed to include “everything,” the plank may need, somewhere in it, wording the makes it subject to the needed changes in our criminal justice system.

    “Everything” would presumably also include serving on juries, so that, at whatever age “majority” was attained, a suspect would have a chance to be tried by a jury of his or her peers. It would also include standing to sue in civil court.

  15. I agree that we should put these up as separate issues. The one that seems to have most support is the first, reducing the voting age nationally to 16.

    Its there any opposition on the platform committee to acceptance of this proposal and moving it forward?

    The issue with regard to the fifth item, which is intended to be the lowering the age of sexual consent to 16, seems to me to be an issue that varies from state to state. I would be willing to eliminate this from consideration as a national platform policy. Would there be any opposition on the platform committee to my eliminating it?

    The issue with cannabis, as written, is making it legal for children of any age to use cannabis without any sanctions. I do not support this. I don’t think the use of cannabis is healthy for growing minds. Would there be any opposition on the platform committee to my eliminating this as wel?.

    The proposal to have the drinking age reduced to 18 has conflicting statements about it. On the one hand, there was the assertion by Tina that having raised the limit to 21 reduced the drunk driving accidents by 50%, and on the other, there is the sense that younger people be empowered to make their own decisions. I would like to hear from the platform committee how they feel on this issue, and if we don’t get a large majority in favor, I would remove this as well.

    With Elie’s suggestion, I am rewriting the last proposal as:

    We urge congressional ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    I would want two amendments to this to be included:
    We recognize that children are entitled to the full respect due any human being, and that corporal punishment of children, either at home or at school, constitutes violence against children. Such violence, whatever its desired ends, has been amply demonstrated to have no positive effect on children. It is perpetuated from generation to generation and conditions children to accept violence as a means of dealing with conflict when they are adults. We are opposed to the corporal punishment of children and will support educational programs and the passage of non-punitive state and national laws to end this practice.

    The practice of genital mutilation, called circumcision, when performed on infants or children, who either cannot or do not consent, constitutes a violation of their right to bodily integrity and freedom from unnecessary harm. Recognizing that the beliefs of the parents or adults whose responsibility it is to care for the children does not preclude these rights, and that the state has a responsibility to protect the children from harm, the Green Party will support educational programs to end this practice.

    I would like these to be a separate issue also, and would like to know if there is any opposition to them.

    I will get to the remaining issues in the original Texas proposal later this evening.

    1. I haven’t had any response to the suggestions made earlier. I assume this is the form for the main discussion, although I am not entirely sure about that, and if I am wrong, please let me know.

      The additional lines in the original proposal are:
      I am in favor of the first proposal,
      We support required representation of students aged 16 or older on local school boards
      We strongly oppose the criminalization of youth, zero tolerance policies, and the explosion of the for-profit “troubled teen” and school-to-prison industries.
      Anyone sentenced to a youth correctional facility, after being charged as a minor, must be released upon reaching their eighteenth birthday.

      I am in favor of the first proposal, a bit unsure about the significance of the second proposal, as I am not aware of the institutions that are being addressed there as harmful, and opposed to the last. The last would seem to imply that even if the child was charged with a murder, which they committed, we would still be asked to release them at 18, and presumably even if he trial was still going on. My sense is that people who are committing murders need extended care to get through the hurting feelings that lead to this, and one wouldn’t know how long that would take, even in the best of circumstances.

      Please respond if you get this and let me know what you think about the various suggestions under this change in youth rights.

    2. I am fine with these changes George but I would shorten the first of your two amendments to the last sentence alone. The platform is overly wordy as it is. Less is more! For the second one, use parallel wording…GP supports educational programs and the passage of state and national laws to end this practice. Last, I am in favor of decriminalizing use of all drugs including alcohol but am in favor of keeping an age 21 limit on sales to support research that shows young brains benefit from no alcohol or cannabis use. Ironically, alcohol causes more death and destruction than cannabis. The issue is too many Black and Brown youth are jailed for what White youth get away with daily with no consequences. -Stuart Chen-Hayes PA Delegate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *