Shawn Sage, 17 of Simi Valley CA, has a mission. He wants to be a United States Marine. Shawn in the type of person the Marines look for, he is not a quitter and he is motivated. His life has been a struggle, starting when he was abandoned by his parents at the age of 2 all the way to the present. His latest setback comes via the California court system and he decided not to accept defeat, instead like the Marine he wants to be he has attacked the problem head-on.
The problem is how foster children are handled in the children's court system of California. Shawn is only 17. If Shawn was not a foster child, then his parent[s] or appointed guardian could sign paperwork allowing Shawn to join. For a foster child in California, a judge must sign off and not the foster parents. So Shawn and Marine SGT Guillermo Medrano petitioned Children's Court Commissioner Marilyn Mackel for such approval.
And before someone spouts off about why should we send 'children' off to war. Shawn was enlisting in the Delayed Entry Program which meant he would not go off to Marine bootcamp until AFTER he got his high school diploma and turned 18, plus he would have locked in the assignment of his choice, assuming he survived being a Boot, and gotten an enlistment bonus.
Well Children's Court Commissioner Marilyn Mackel had a different idea and ruled against the hopeful teen. According to Shawn and SGT Medrano, Mackel interjected her personal anti-war beliefs into the proceedings to deny Shawn his request for early entry.
For some this would be the end of the matter, they would meekly away until they turned 18 before enlisting. Not Shawn, Shawn wants to be a Marine after all. So when California Rep. Smythe[R] asked for submissions to his Write a Bill Challenge, Shawn took pen in hand and quickly dashed off his suggestion. So now AB2238 is in the hoppers at Sacramento, awaiting a chance to change the law so the foster parents or social worker could give permission instead of seemingly out of control judges.
Even though Shawn has been denied his early entry and bonus, he is still determined to become a Marine. Even though he is not signed up, he shows up for USMC training so he can be ready.
"I didn't do it for the signing bonus, because I'm a motivated kid," he said. "I am hoping to join the military before I graduate. I want to serve my country."
Semper Fi Shawn.
P.S. Shawn, if you are known by the quality of your enemies ... well like President Bush, you need to work on it. Tom 'I used to be Hanoi Jane's husband until she dumped me for Ted Turner and I used to be an anti VietNam War scumbag' Hayden is on the side of the judge naturally.