When my older set of kids (now 20 and 18) were in Junior High and High School, they participated in the Williamson County Teen Court. I think that over the years, we put in about four total years of participation, even though my kids were not as active as some of those who were in the Teen Court. I felt like it was a great place for them to learn about the court system, the jobs that each person does inside the court, the laws of our community and what happens when you break them. They also had to practice justice and mercy and be able to see how both would be useful to each situation and person who was involved in the cases they were presented to sentence.
The kids who wound up in trouble in our community – usually for speeding, curfew or drug related crimes – were actual teens who were getting actual sentences. The kids on the teen court could give them community service hours based upon how bad the crime was. Each teen can participate in the jury, be an attorney, a judge (seniors only) and/or other jobs handled in the court. Actual judges and lawyers and special guests in criminal justice visited and talked with the participating teens each week and the attorneys had homework to study their cases prior to coming to court.
Participating in Teen court doubled for us as community service hours (service project hours) and part of what Texas requires of homeschool students : Good Citizenship. I think overall, it was a real benefit to my children and helped them with public speaking, debate skills, and helped them learn about the society we live in and the law.
Another of my friends whose children spent as long in it as mine says “It’s a (FREE) wonderful way to experience US Government and serve the local community.”
I’ve been meaning to blog about Teen Court for a long time…. but now that my big kids are not involved, and they are calling for more participants, I thought I would share my two cents and pass along the information to anyone else out there in Williamson County who might have homeschooled kids in Junior High or High School.
We loved Judge Staudt and her valuable efforts in helping to educate and bless the youth of our county! So thankful she’s continuing this beneficial program.
Interested in signing up your kids? They have a training day on January 22nd coming up soon! All you have to do is show up and begin your journey!
Click here: Williamson County Teen Court