Mock trial teaches students lesson on lawMay 30th, 2012 | By Terri Sercovich | Category: school news
Students from Belle Chasse Middle School learned about the judicial system by staging a mock trial involving a fictitious character, Harry Potter bringing drugs on school grounds.
The trials, which took place in a real courtroom, placed students in the shoes of the defendant, defense attorneys, prosecutor, witnesses, victim, bailiff, court reporter and jurors.
Presiding over the mock trials were: Retired 4th Circuit Judge Michael Kirby, 4th Circuit Judge and creator of the Plaquemines Project L. E. A. D. program Judge Joy Lobrano, 25 th District Court Judges Kevin Conner and Michael Clement. The program was started in the year 2000 and continued by District Attorney Charles Ballay.
The goal of program, Project L. E. A. D., is designed to help students recognize and analyze potential consequences of the difficult decisions students face during adolescence and beyond. By focusing on peer pressure, responsibility, self-respect, self-control and self-esteem, Project L. E. A. D. gives students the tools necessary to avoid many of the pitfalls and traps that often lead to delinquent conduct and criminal activity.
The L. E. A. D. (Legal Enrichment And Decision – making) curriculum includes fact patterns in which the characters approach various moral and legal crossroads. These are
designed to illustrate how easy it can sometimes be to step over the line without even being aware of it. These fact patterns provide an interesting basis for class discussion. Students read aloud the parts in these scenarios, thus preparing for the mock trial which is the culmination of the L.E.A.D. lessons.
Darren Riley, a student in Ms. Guidry’s homeroom, who played the role of Sgt. Sammy Hymes said that he liked Project L.E.A.D. because they got to do a lot of activities and plays. He really enjoyed going to court where he played the role Sgt. Sammy Hymes.
Cyler Parker, a student in Mrs. Leger’s homeroom, played the role of Defense Attorney #7. Defense Attorney #7 questioned her client on the events leading to the day of the arrest.
“The mock trial was my favorite part because we were able to go to court and see what it was about. My favorite lesson was the one on BULLYING because there are times people don’t realize they are bullying someone but they really are. It’s the little things that hurt.”
Calise Estapa, a student in Mrs. Salisbury’s homeroom, enjoyed hearing what prison is like from someone who was actually there. “Project L.E.A.D. was a great experience for me. I learned to be careful and safe where ever I go. Safety is also very important. Just like using life jackets when on a boat.”
Project L.E.A.D. is taught to every fifth grader in our parish by one of the five assistant district attorneys in the D. A.’s Office: 1st Assistant Robert White, Joseph Roberts, Jerry Lobrano, Mary Touzet, and Ned McGowan. Belle Chasse Middle School is taught in the spring semester while Phoenix, Boothville, South Plaquemines, and OLPH were taught in the fall.
Topics included Drinking and Driving, Boating Safety, Internet Safety, Four Wheeling, Dating Violence, Bullying, Vandalism, Truancy, and Gun Safety.