Here’s Riverside County schools’ verdict: These 14 programs are tops
By Craig Shultz
A middle school student was accused of bullying.
But instead of facing discipline from his school, he stood in front of a jury of his peers Saturday, Oct. 21, It was part of the Jurupa Uniﬁed School District’s Student Youth Court.
In the program, students serve as jurors and in other courtroom roles. They hear the case and make a decision — not to punish — but to help students pick a better path.
Youth Court was recently recognized by the Riverside County Office of Education as one of 14 Models of Academic Excellence and Innovation award recipients.
The office recognized programs that have succeeded in improving student academic achievement. They were selected, in part, because they can be replicated at other school sites.
Youth Court, which started three years ago, involves and sessions twice a month during the school year. Students, some of whom were previously defendants, volunteer as jurors. The hearing officer is a volunteer from the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
Students question a first-time offender during the Jurupa Uniﬁed School District’s Student Youth Court on Saturday, Oct. 21, in Jurupa Valley. Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG
Student court members are, from left: Crystal Toral, 15; Valeria Osorio, 15; and Lilliana Vasquez, 15; question a first-time offender during Jurupa Uniﬁed School District’s Student Youth Court on Saturday, Oct. 21, in Jurupa Valley. Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enteprirse/SCNG