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Appleton, WI: Judge laments youthful offenders with mental health issues

Dec 20, 2017, Appleton (WI) Post Crescent: Judge sees emergence of mental health issues among suspected school bullies Outagamie County Judge John Des Jardins has dealt with his share of bullies during his time on the bench. “They come (to my court) as battery and disorderly conduct cases,” said Des Jardins, a longtime prosecutor before joining the judiciary. While there hasn’t been a tremendous spike in bullying cases, Des Jardins has noticed some common traits of perpetrators: They range from elementary-age children to high school students. They typically have impulse-control problems and/or anger management problems. And a growing number of them are dealing with mental health issues. “What we’re seeing a lot more than we’ve ever seen before is mental health issues — underlying mental health issues,” he said. “We never used to see the mental health aspect like what we do today.” … The judge said impulse control problems — coupled with family-related problems, uncontrolled anger and mental health issues — can result in juveniles striking out against others. … "They have been victimized by their upbringing. But it still doesn’t justify their behavior. There’s a fine line and some of these people don’t know where the line is.” … Mary Krumplitsch, chief intake worker and supervisor of the Outagamie County intake office, said she has not noticed an increase in cases involving bullying. As far as mental health, Krumplitsch said it’s being identified as a factor “more now than in the past.” ”There’s much more awareness of it now," she said. … Krumplitsch said trauma is a “big thing” for children. It can result from a number of events, including the loss of a parent or witnessing domestic violence, she said. “It’s part of who they are,” she said. “It shapes how they respond to things and it’s not always positive.”

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