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2000

Columbia Law School

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Juvenile Law

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Legal Construction Of Childhood, Elizabeth S. Scott Jan 2000

The Legal Construction Of Childhood, Elizabeth S. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

Two features of the legal regulation of childhood seem troublesome, but ultimately contribute to sensible policies in most contexts. First, the boundary between childhood and adulthood varies in different policy domains, through a regime of age grading under which elementary school students are deemed adults for some legal purposes, while, for other purposes, college students are children. Second, the transitional stage of adolescence is virtually invisible, because, for most purposes, law makers employ binary categories, classifying adolescents as either children or as adults. This framework – a series of legislative bright line rules, arrayed around a presumptive age of majority – generally ...