Peer Court Starting Soon at SJHS

Submitted by tiffanie.miley on Wed, 11/11/2009 - 13:03

For many years now Springville Junior High School has successfully held a peer court in their government and law class. Soon the class plans to reopen the court system for this year.

According to Mr. David Hansen, the government and law instructor, the class plans to start the court within the next two to three weeks. “We are working on the Constitution and on opening and closing statements. Once we finish with that we plan to open the court.”

The court is run completely by the students who act as the bailiffs, clerks, attorneys, and judges. When the class gets a viable complaint, the attorneys are sent out to interview possible witnesses. They then draft opening statements which are given as if in a real court of a law. The trials continue as real trials do, with questioning of witnesses in front of the judges. The attorneys give the closing statements and the student judges make a fair ruling.

Trials are held for many things, from swearing to stealing binders. “We hold trials for the minor things,” Mr. Hansen said. He explained that if a situation is serious, it is handed over to the principal or other appropriate personnel.

To get a trial, students need to pick up a referral sheet from the front office. On the paper, they explain what happened, as well as other students that witnessed the event. They then submit the sheet to Mr. Hansen, who determines if it is a real case, and then runs it through the court with his class.

“The greatest thing about the court is that it gives students the opportunity to control their own destiny,” said Mr. Hansen. The court has had much success with this in the past by giving students the chance to give proper punishment to their offenders.

Jacob Simmons, SJHS Staff Writer