Deviyoun Williams is not a bad kid; he’s like any other 13-year-old who challenges authority, shows independence and wants to know why things are done the way they are.
Sometimes his behavior and constant questioning proved difficult for teachers and family, who could have simply thrown a blanket of discipline on him to enforce obedience. The police could have considered him as a potential delinquent and put him under a microscope while waiting for this first sheet.
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But thanks to a new program targeting young people on the margins of delinquency, Deviyoun has a better understanding of the laws and their consequences, which will potentially lead him to make better decisions.
On Monday, he was the first recipient of the National Business Alliance Network’s Law Literacy Scholarship Program. The program is an online platform that teaches the 100 most commonly broken laws in the United States and the associated penalties.
“I know how to look at myself and how to act,” Deviyoun said. “Now I know the different charges and what could happen. Everyone knows someone in jail for one reason or another and I can tell my friends why it happened like this … It helped me understand why things are the way they are and why things unfolded as they unfolded.
Bob Robinson, director of the Public Education Outreach Office for the National Business Alliance Network in Raleigh, said the goal of the program is to reach out to students before they make a decision that will impact the rest of their lives. life.
“We work with young people who find out what they want to do or what they don’t want to do sometimes as they sit on a bunk in an orange jumpsuit. We don’t want to wait for that to happen. That’s when we decided to partner with LLM online so that individuals could learn and then apply these leadership activities, ”said Robinson.
Deviyoun was nominated for the program by Lexington Police Chief Robby Rummage, who expressed interest in an educational program not only to help a promising young man, but also to foster greater understanding between the forces of the order and community.
“For years I have watched young people make decisions that impact the rest of their lives and I am convinced that a good part of the time, if they had known what the likely consequences would be, they didn’t might not have made that decision. What is important in my opinion is to look beyond the behavior for the moment, to see the value of the person and to be able to move forward, ”said Rummage.
Deviyoun’s father Shannon Williams said he was grateful for all the support his son received through the LLM program. He said he appreciated the fact that there is a way for children before they find themselves on the wrong side of the law, which could affect their future.
“There was no program there until you got into trouble rather than teaching them about cause and effect. I’ve been through my share of problems and that kind of relationship with (law enforcement) didn’t exist when I was there. Recognizing him before he crosses that line is great and I commend the Lexington Police Department for doing so. This program just shows him the potential he has and that there is a lot that he can do in his future, ”said Williams.
At a special graduation ceremony on Monday, two of Deviyoun’s former teachers spoke of his compassion, leadership and unwavering questioning of everything that sometimes led to conflict, but made him perfect for This program.
Lisa Childress, who is the Parent Outreach Coordinator with Lexington City Schools, gave Deviyoun a river rock as a symbolic gesture of how this program impacted her behavior and decision making .
“The river has removed the rough edges from this stone and I would like to think that there will be a lot of people in your life who will have a part to smooth out the rough edges, not just in you, but in your life… It is important that we never give up on people like you, you have a bright mind, but you also have a bright heart and we are all very proud of you, ”Childress said.
General news reporter Sharon Myers can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @LexDispatchSM.