Peer-to-peer court puts justice in the hands of teens

Peer-to-peer court puts justice in the hands of teens

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SCHOOL STUDENTS ARE SUSPENDED OR
EXPELLED EACH YEAR IN AMERICA. AND BLACK STUDENTS ARE THREE TO
FOUR TIMES MORE LIKELY THAN
THEIR WHITE PEERS TO BE GIVEN AN
OUT OF SCHOOL SUSPENSION. AND OFTEN THE SUSPENSIONS AND
EXPULSIONS WERE FOR MINOR
INFRACTIONS LIKE DRESS CODE
VIOLATIONS AND TARDINESS. IN EFFORT TO ADDRESS THE RACIAL
DISPARITIES AND TAKE A MORE
RESTORATIVE APPROACH TO JUVENILE
JUSTICE, MANY SCHOOL DISTRICTS
ARE TRYING NEW METHODS OF
DISCIPLINE. INCLUDING PEER COURTS. CORRESPONDENT ROBIN HAMILTON
TAKES US TO A SCHOOL IN
WASHINGTON, DC THAT IS TESTING A
NEW LAW ACADEMY. WHERE THEY’RE TRAINING STUDENTS
TO HEAR ACTUAL CASES FROM THEIR
FELLOW CLASSMATES.>>WHEN YOU’RE IN HIGH SCHOOL,
GETTING DISCIPLINED BY AN ADULT
IS BAD ENOUGH. BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE
PUNISHMENT COMES FROM YOUR
PEERS?>>NOW I AM GOING TO EXPLAIN THE
RULES.>>THAT COULD HAPPEN HERE AT
DUNBAR HIGH SCHOOL IN
WASHINGTON, D.C. THESE STUDENTS ARE PARTICIPATING
IN A PEER MEDIATION CLASS
A HALF-CREDIT COURSE THAT
TEACHES THE MECHANICS OF A COURT
CASE.>>THE RESPONSIBILITY NEGLECTED
WAS BEING RESPECTFUL TO OTHERS
.
>>TODAY’S MOCK TRIAL HAS LARRY
HYMAN DEFENDING HIS FRIEND
RICHARD BANGOORA OVER A FIGHT WITH A FEMALE FRIEND, WHOM ZAREA
BOYD IS REPRESENTING.>>MY STUDENT WAS ON HER WAY
HOME YESTERDAY WHEN THE
DEFENDANT STOPPED MY STUDENT AND
HARASSED HER.>>SHELINA WARREN TEACHES THE
CLASS, AND BROUGHT THE PILOT
PROGRAM TO DUNBAR. NEXT YEAR, SHE HOPES TO TRY REAL
INCIDENTS FROM SCHOOL WHERE
STUDENTS DECIDE THE FATE OF
THEIR PEERS.>>A LOT OF TIMES WHEN YOU PUT
THEM IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT AND
YOU ALLOW THEM TO SEE IT FROM A
DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW, THEN
THEY SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY.>>DUNBAR HIGH HAS A RICH, IF
NOT CONFLICTED HISTORY. ONCE THE ONLY SCHOOL FOR AFRICAN
AMERICANS IN D.C. DURING SEGREGATION, IT WAS SEEN
AS A PLACE OF HIGH ACHIEVEMENT. A CENTURY LATER, THE SCHOOL WAS
DILAPIDATED, AND HAD A STUDENT
POPULATION MARRED BY
ABSENTEEISM, DISCIPLINARY
PROBLEMS AND OVERCROWDING. A 20 MILLION DOLLAR RENOVATION
IN 2013 BROUGHT CHANGE ON THE
OUTSIDE
AND ADMINISTRATORS WANTED THAT
SAME CHANGE ON THE INSIDE.>> SO WE SURVEYED STUDENTS TO
FIGURE OUT WHAT’S GOING ON AT
DUNBAR. A LOT OF OUR STUDENTS JUST WANT
TO BE LOVED AND WANT A VOICE.>>DR. MARC GOMES IS THE
SCHOOL’S ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL.>>SO INSTEAD OF THE PRINCIPAL
OR ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL OR THE
DEAN OF STUDENTS GIVING YOU A
CONSEQUENCE, I THINK HAVING YOUR
PEERS SAY ’YOU KNOW, MIKE, YOU
WERE WRONG TODAY AND THESE ARE YOUR POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES, IT’S
NOT LIKE SUSPENDING A STUDENT.>>THE PEER MEDIATION CLASS IS
INSPIRED BY A GAME CALLED WE THE
JURY, WHICH IS PART OF ICIVICS,
AN ONLINE LEARNING PLATFORM THAT
TEACHES CIVIC ENGAGEMENT TO
STUDENTS. LOUISE DUBE IS THE EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR.>>ICIVICS IS THE LEGACY OF
JUSTICE SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR, WHO
REALLY FELT THAT CIVIC EDUCATION
IS SOMETHING THAT IS INCREDIBLY
IMPORTANT TO OUR COUNTRY, THAT
EVERY STUDENT NEEDS TO BE TRAINED ON HOW OUR SYSTEM OF
GOVERNMENT WORKS.>>WHEN YOU TALK TO SOMEBODY AND
SAY, ’WE’RE GOING TO BRING
CIVICS TO CLASS’ YOU KNOW THERE
ARE GOING TO BE STUDENTS WHO SAY

’UGH BORING’ .>>THE BEST WAY TO ENGAGE
STUDENTS AS YOUNG AS FOURTH
GRADE IS THROUGH GAMES. OUR GOAL IS TO REIMAGINE CIVICS
SO THEY FIND IT FASCINATING IN
WHICH THEY CAN FIND THEMSELVES
THAT IT’S RELEVANT TO THEIR
LIVES>>ACCORDING TO ICIVICS,
NEARLY 100,000 TEACHERS ACROSS 50 STATES USE THE ONLINE
PLATFORM, AND THE GOAL IS TO NOT
ONLY TEACH STUDENTS THE
IMPORTANCE OF CIVIC ENGAGEMENT,
BUT TO GIVE THEM LESSONS THEY
CAN TAKE BEYOND THE CLASSROOM.>>HOW CAN WE WORK TOGETHER TO
FIGURE OUT, YOU KNOW, WHAT’S
GOING ON, WHY’S THIS TAKING
PLACE, AND LET’S MEET AT A NORM
SO THAT WHEN THEY TAKE THESE
SKILLS OUT INTO THE REAL WORLD, IT’S GOING TO HELP THEM BECOME
BETTER CITIZENS.>>BUT WHAT ABOUT THE STIGMA
THAT CAN COME FROM ONE PEER
JUDGING ANOTHER PEER? SINCE A REAL CASE HAS NOT BEEN
TRIED YET, THE JURY IS STILL OUT
ON THAT ONE
STUDENTS AND TEACHERS AREN’T
WORRIED.>>NOT AT ALL. IT GIVES US A SENSE OF POWER AND
SHOWS US THAT WE HAVE A VOICE
.
>>AND THEY KNOW THE STUDENTS
TOO. SO A LOT OF THAT PLAYS A PART
INTO HOW THEY MEDIATE GIVING
STUDENTS THE CHANCE TO BALANCE
THE SCALES OF JUSTICE ON THEIR
OWN TERMS.>>COURT IS ADJOURNED.>>ROBIN HAMILTON FOR MATTER OF
FACT. SOLEDAD: ACCORDING TO A STUDY
FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE AND GEORGE WASHINGTON
UNIVERSITY 99-PERCENT OF YOUTH
, COURTS SENTENCED THEIR PEERS
TO COMMUNITY SERVICE. OTHER SENTENCES INCLUDED WRITTEN
APOLOGIES, TUTORING, AND JAIL
TO

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