Are you a parent of a juvenile between the ages of 12 and 18? Is your son or daughter getting mixed up in the wrong crowd and making poor choices? Whether it’s ditching school, drinking and doing drugs, theft, or staying out late, as a parent you know if your child doesn’t learn from their mistakes, the world sure is going to teach them.
You can be the best parent in the world, but you can’t control everything your child says or does. You can’t be there 100% of the time, guiding your son or daughter to make the right decisions, especially when their “friends” are pushing them to drink, take drugs, or commit common juvenile crimes, such as driving under the influence (DUI), assault, smoking marijuana, underage gang violence, and theft.
Before you give up on your son or daughter and hope they will one day come around and make better life choices, you may want to consider Shock Education – a program created specifically for juveniles to show them the “shocking” side of engaging in irresponsible, criminal behavior.
What Is the Shock Program?
This program isn’t for the faint at heart; it exposes youth to the dramatic, unnerving results of poor choices and engaging in various criminal activity. What do these classes discuss?
Youth hear from experts from community agencies about various issues, such as:
- Family issues
- Alcohol and drugs
- Sexual development
Participants in the Shock program have an invaluable opportunity to discuss these topics in a safe environment where open communication is encouraged. They visit places and hear from people they would otherwise never see or meet.
Parents often ask whether the Shock Education program is for boys and girls. According to the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough County), “Classes are gender-specific.” Like sexual education (Sex Ed) taught in schools, the courts have ensured that the sexual development classes are appropriate for the students.
Shock Education provides a valuable and tough experience for youths who are in danger of committing serious wrongdoings—or who have already done so. It can be difficult to explain to a teen why drinking or shoplifting can have serious consequences. They don’t want to listen, especially to a parent. When they have an outside, trusted source—other than a peer or “friend”—to offer insight, they are more likely to listen. The Shock program offers an intense and in-depth look into the immediate and long-term effects of criminal activity.
How Long Is the Shock Program?
The Shock Education Program lasts for six weeks. The classes are held two times a week for two hours, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The majority of the Shock Education classes are held at the Hillsborough County Courthouse Annex, and guided tours are conducted at Tampa General Hospital and other locations, including DACCO, Source Theater, and Stowers Funeral Home.
At the end of the six-week program, participants are required to go before a circuit court judge and make a verbal presentation of what they learned and gained.
How Youth Are Referred to the Shock Education Program
If you’re having trouble with your teen and they are between the ages of 12 and 18, you (or a guardian) can refer him or her to Shock Education, even if they have not been arrested.
Fortunately, the Shock Education Program is free of charge. The courts believe that parental support in Shock Education is a sufficient contribution in itself.
Aside from getting a referral from a parent or a guardian, a youth can be referred to the Shock Program by any of the following:
- The youth’s school
- The Juvenile Court
- The Department of Juvenile Justice
- The Juvenile Assessment Center
- The Department of Children & Families
- Other juvenile diversion programs
If your teenager is enrolled in the program, he or she must attend all six weekly sessions, unless your son or daughter is told to attend one specific class only. If your child misses a class for any reason, they must provide written documentation explaining their absence.
As a parent or guardian, you are strongly encouraged by the court to attend the first and last classes with your son or daughter. You are also required to pick up your child immediately after the class ends.
Parents Involved in Early Intervention
If you have observed that your child is hanging out with the wrong crowd, or if they are getting into drinking and drugs, skipping school, and engaging in other criminal behavior, it’s important that you get involved sooner rather than later, and the Shock Program may be exactly what your child needs. Seeing the consequences of such actions—in real life—can have the right impact on a teen, and parents need all the help they can get.
When parents get involved early on, it can make all the difference in their child’s future. For many Hillsborough County parents, the Shock Education Program is the “wakeup call” their teenagers need to STOP going down a path that will only lead to a life of addiction, crime, or worse.
Click here to learn more about the Shock Education Program in Hillsborough County.
If your teen committed a juvenile crime, our Tampa criminal defense attorneys can provide a hard-hitting defense and more information on the Shock Program – call today for a free consultation!