You are an investigator with the county bureau of social services. A case has been referred to you by a middle school’s
head counselor. It seems that a young girl, Emily, has been showing up to school in a dazed and listless condition. She
has had a hard time concentrating in class and seems withdrawn and uncommunicative. The 13-year-old has missed more than
a normal share of school days and has often been late to class. Last week, she seemed so lethargic that her homeroom teacher sent her to the school nurse. A physical examination revealed that she was malnourished and in poor physical health. She also had evidence of bruising that could only come from a severe beating. Emily told the nurse that she had
been punished by her parents for doing a poor job at school and for failing to do her chores at home.
When her parents were called to the school to meet with the principal and guidance counselor, they claimed to be members
of a religious order that believes that children should be severely punished for misdeeds. Emily had been placed on a
restricted diet and beaten with a belt to correct her misbehavior. One of her parents’ complaints was that she had joined
a gang in which male members use the female members as servants. The parents claimed that Emily’s bruises were the result
of “punishment” that she received at the hands of the gang members.
You are asked to investigate the situation and make a recommendation to your supervisor concerning what action, if any,
the bureau of social services should take. If you believe in the parens patriae concept of the treatment of juveniles,
what would you recommend? If you follow a due-process model, what would you recommend? Can this matter be brought to