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Training Manual for Student Volunteers

Trojan Teen Court

Promoting and protecting a culture of learning with community values and the restorative process.

Fountain Middle School 515 N. Santa Fe Avenue Fountain Colorado, 80817 (719) 382-158

What is Trojan Teen Court?


Teen court is a non-discriminatory body of students who collectively analyze information, conduct interviews, and determine meaningful consequences for peers who have acted inappropriately in school. The program is a student driven approach to preventing disruptions to the learning environment and culture of a school by holding students accountable for their actions and assisting them in making better life choices in the future. . Rather than relying solely upon a punitive judicial system which often inflicts arbitrary and/or rigid punishments, the teen court program offers students and school administrators with another option in dealing with disciplinary issues. The teen court program is not a complete replacement of the longstanding disciplinary programs used in most schools across the country today. Under some situations the traditional punitive system of dealing with social disobedience is most effective and appropriate. The teen court program marries the traditional punitive model of justice with an innovative theory on dealing with crime known as Restorative Justice. In the traditional school justice system, disobedience or disruptions are treated as an offense directly against the school and they are dealt with by a single school representative, usually the principal or dean of students. Unlike the approach of the traditional judicial system, restorative justice acknowledges that a persons actions affect not only the persons directly involved but the entire community. A restorative justice approach has historically been used successfully by indigenous cultures around the globe to maintain a unity among people, while holding individual members of the community accountable for any harm done to an individual or the community as a whole. The process of restorative justice within the teen court centers on four major goals which are: accountability for actions, the mending of harm done to individuals, institutions, and community, promotion of human interdependence/community, and development of a competent citizenry through education. Recognizing that a combination of peer influence and sincere reflection are powerful tools in long-term behavioral modifications, Trojan Teen Court relies on a highly trained and diverse group of student volunteers to review disciplinary cases, conduct reflective interviews, and design relevant and restorative consequences to guide disruptive students toward making better decisions in the future.

Who can volunteer on the Trojan Teen Court?


In order to establish an open community forum for disciplinary procedures, service on the peer panel is open to all students at Fountain Middle School. Students who wish to serve as active panel members must fulfill the following basic requirements: 1. Complete one of the monthly Teen Court training sessions. 2. Sign, pledge and adhere to a strict oath of confidentiality regarding teen court cases. All members of Teen Court are required to maintain confidentiality about all information related to a case, including the defendants name and the facts of the case. Also, you may not p articipate in a case of a particular defendant when you have a conflict or close relationship with the defendant that might prevent fairness. It is a privilege to be a teen court volunteer. The standard is high and we expect it to be maintained at all times.

Teen Court Flow Map


Student receives a disciplinary referral for disrupting the learning environment/culture of school. Student qualifies and chooses Trojan Teen Court as a disciplinary action. **Must admit guilt and have full parental/guardian support

Yes Student is given a date to appear before the Trojan Teen Court.

No

Student and parent report to the school administrative office on assigned date of proceedings.

Case Manager will review teen court procedures and escort the student and parents/guardian to the peer panel.

Student is given disciplinary measures according to the schools discipline matrix.

Peer Panel introduces themselves (First Name Only) Peer panel hears testimony and questions the student Student and Parent exit the room while the Peer Panel deliberates on sentencing

Student and parent take an oath to tell the truth.

Student volunteers take an oath of confidentiality

The students file is returned to the schools administration

Student has successfully completed the Teen Court Restorative Process.

Yes

No

Peer panel hears testimony and questions the parent/guardian Student and parent is brought in and read the sentencing.

The student has 30 days to complete the sentencing. The checklist must be signed off by a designated representative of the Peer Panel. The student is entirely responsible for completing the sentencing. If the student does not comply with the Teen Court, the case will be returned to school administration for disciplinary actions.

Student completes checklist within 30 days Student reports to room 511 the next school day to receive a sentencing checklist to be completed within 30 days

Trojan Teen Court Procedures

The following script is designed to ensure a degree of consistency in the way cases are managed by the Teen Court. This script should act as a guideline for the process of teen court but not as a rigid dialogue.

Bailiff/Case Manager: be seated.

Escorts student and parents into the jury room and

Bailiff: The Trojan Teen Court is now in session. Will the teen volunteers please stand, raise your right hand and repeat the Oath of Confidentiality after me. Do you solemnly affirm to never discuss any information concerning this session of the Trojan Teen Court to another person outside of this room. (Pause until jury responds) Does any member of this jury feel that they are not able to fully administer restorative justice due to their personal connections to this case? (Pause and wait for a response) Jury you may take a seat Will the defendant and accompanying parents please stand and raise your right hand. (pause) Do you affirm that anything that you say to the teen jury is the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth? (Pause and wait for reply) Foreperson: Welcome to the Trojan Teen Court my name is First Name . We will begin with a brief introduction of the Jury. (Jury members introduce themselves FIRST NAME ONLY) Foreperson: Do you understand the purpose for this session of the Teen Trojan Court? (Pause for response- If they do not understand then one of the club sponsors will call for an adjournment of procedures and explain the purpose of the session to the defendant and parents in private)

Do you understand that we are not here to determine guilt but to restore justice and help to prevent future incidents at Fountain Middle School (Pause for response) We will question you both to find out more about you and the incident that brought you to Trojan Teen Court. When we have all the information we need, we will ask you both to wait out in the hall and we will decide the restorative measures that will be required of you. We will call you back into the jury room, deliver the restorative measures that you will be required to complete, and conclude this session. Do you have any questions? (Pause) Defendants Name___ will you please explain to the jury the entire story about why you are here today? (Pause and give the defendant plenty of time to respond) Jury members you may precede with any questions that you may have of the student

(Allow the jury members to ask questions. When you get the sense the questioning is complete begin moving on in the procedures. You are responsible for ensuring that a conversation of mutual respect occurs between the jury member and the student. Do not allow the student or the jury members to disrespect or waste each others time)

Does anyone on the jury have any further questions of the student? Mr/Mrs Parents Name___ will you please explain to the jury your thoughts and concerns about the incident? (Pause and give the defendant plenty of time to respond) Jury members you may precede with any questions that you may have of the parent

(Allow the jury members to ask questions. When you get the sense the questioning is complete you may continue. You are responsible for ensuring that a conversation of mutual respect occurs between the jury member and the student. Do not allow the student or the jury members to disrespect or waste each others time) Does anyone on the jury have any further questions of the student or the parent? Thank you for your time, sincerity, and trust in the jury of the Trojan Teen Court. Do either of you have any recommendations or questions for the jury? (pause) Will you please step into the hall while the jury determines a final set of restorative measures that must be completed?

Bailiff:

Escorts the student and parents into the hallway.

Jury Pool: Collaborate using the sentencing worksheet and the following questions until a consensus can be made on sentencing: 1. How can the student restore justice for the victim(s)? 2. How can the student restore/promote the culture of the school? 3. How can we help the student to be a better student/person at FMS? Bailiff: Escorts defendant and parents back into the court room upon Forepersons request Foreperson: Welcome back, after sincere discussions and collaboration, we the jury have come to a consensus on restorative actions that must be completed within 30 days or this case will be re-opened under new terms as prescribed by the Dean of Students.

In an effort to restore justice and the culture of Fountain Middle School, we the jury have decided that the defendant shall

Foreperson then reads each restorative measure and gives a brief explanation of why that measure was chosen by the panel.

Foreperson:

Do you have any questions concerning this case? (pause)

Thank you for your time, sincerity, and trust in the Trojan Teen Court. We hope that this process has been a learning experience and we wish you the very best in the future. This court is now adjourned. ** The foreperson is responsible for completing the sentencing form and giving it to the case manager at the end of the session.

Trojan Teen Court Questioning Guidelines


Jury members ask questions directly to the student and parents in order to gain a better understanding of the incident which helps in designing a sentence that that achieves the goals of restorative justice. During questioning it is important to remain professional yet approachable.

Direct Questions to Student Remember, you are questioning a peer who has violated the expectations within your school and it is your duty to help him/her reflect more deeply upon their choices and actions. Do not be afraid to ask questions that may be difficult for the student or to directly educate the student about possible implications of their actions. Please tell the Court your name and a little bit about yourself. How old are you? Where do you go to school? What grade are you in? Tell the court a little about how you do in school. What are your favorite subjects? What type of grades do you get? What do you like to do in your free time? What challenges do you have in school or work? Tell the court about your family. Do you get along with your parents? What were their reactions? Have you faced any consequences since the offense? Tell the court about your friends. Please tell the court about the events that led up to this crime and arrest. Why did you do that? Have you ever been in trouble with the law or school before? Who has been affected by your actions? How might others have been affected by your actions? How has this incident affected the victim? How has this incident affected your family? How has this incident affected the community? What do you think you can do to repair the damage that you have caused? How do you feel about what you have done? If you could go back in time what might you have done different?

Are you sad because you got caught or because you feel like you did something inappropriate? What other options did you have? What were you thinking at the very moment that you were doing what brought you here?

Direct Questions to Parents Adults often struggle with being challenged by adolescence especially in a stressful environment such as Teen Court. Be respectful to the parents and avoid any accusatory or potentially offensive language when interviewing parents. The purpose in questioning parents is to get some kind of an idea on how the students actions may have been influenced by the environment in which they live. Do not engage in quarrels with parents. If a situation should arise, the case manager will intervene.

Please state your name. What can you tell the court about your child? What type of friends does your child have? What does your child like to do? What is your child good at? How did you learn about the crime that your child committed? What did you do when you learned about it? Did you talk to your child about it? o If so, please tell us your perceptions about whether or not your child understands that what was done was wrong. How has the incident affected you and your family? What could your child do to repair the damage that was caused? Is there anything surprising about your child testimony? Do you have any recommendations for us concerning your child? Is this situation typical of your son/daughters behavior?

Tips for Questioning


Do not allow defendants to partially answer or ignore questions. Make them think and respond by asking them to explain more. Listen closely to the questions being asked. Do not repeat the same question. Smile and try to make the student and parent more relaxed so they will be more open with the teen court. Be respectful to each other during questioning. Be thoughtful of your body language. Eyes, posture, foot tapping, hand gestures etc. Speak in the appropriate noise level, clearly and with authority but respectfully.

Trojan Teen Court Sentencing Guidelines


The restorative measures assigned by the teen court must be relevant and purposeful. All consequences assigned during the sentencing process are centered on the four goals of restorative justice which are: accountability for actions, the mending of harm done to individuals, institutions, and community, promotion of human interdependence/community, and development of a competent citizenry through education. The following list is not all inclusive and the teen court is encouraged to design restorative measures that best suit the situation. However, the Teen Court must be able to clearly justify how any sentencing requirement assists in promoting restorative justice.

Mandatory Sentencing Jury Duty: All defendants are required to give back to the Teen Court program by serving a minimum of two times as a student volunteer on the Teen Court. o Rationale: accountability for actions, promotion of human interdependence/community, and development of a competent citizenry through learning and education.

Optional Sentencing Apology Letter: Write a sincere, meaningful, and reflective letter to the victim of an incident which clearly explains: 1. the incident, 2. why the incident was inappropriate 3. Offers a remedy or preventive measure for the incident. o Rationale: The teen court recognizes the inability of an apology to repair harm done toward another person; however, the apology letter is not expected to repair the harm done but to get the mending process started. Writing a sincere apology letter forces the defendant to reflect upon their actions and the impact that their actions may have had on other people. By learning to construct a meaningful apology students are learning how to take responsibility for their actions and increasing their application of writing skills.

Essay/Research Project: Conduct research and present your findings in a format that is appropriate and engaging. Possible formats include but are not limited to: essay, poem, painting, video presentation, song, power point presentation, or poster. Assign a format that will be most engaging for the defendant in order to encourage more engagement and ownership of the assignment. o Rationale: By getting students to explore a particular aspect of their incident from an academic standpoint helps to increase student understanding of some of the more complex issues surrounding their own incident. Ultimately, sparking deeper reflection and the development of critical thinking skills rather than impulse.

Community Service: Community service is best served either as an accountability tool or it can be used to reconnect a student with the community. Community Service hours can be assigned in a specific area, person, or activity within the school. The number of hours and location need to be appropriate for the incident. o Rationale: By requiring that a student engage in an activity that benefits the entire community students can gain a better understanding of the importance of people working toward a common goal. In addition community service can be used to hold a student accountable for their actions by giving back to the community. Become an Expert/Role Model: Research a topic that is related to the incident and teach others how to make healthy decisions based on expert knowledge and understanding. Requiring a student to teach a focus class about How to choose good friends can be very intimidating. The become an expert consequence should only be applied to student who are natural leaders but need a more positive way to direct their energy within the school. o Rationale: When people share their knowledge and experiences with others it deepens not only their understanding of the topic but it gives them a valuable function in a community. Parent Shadow/Child Shadow: Parent shadow requires that a parent come to school and be with their child for a specified number of days/hours. Child Shadow would require that the parent take the child to work for a specified number of days/hours. Parent shadow should be used to encourage reconnection between a parent and child. To further increase the impact of the student shadow, a follow up counseling session to reflect upon the process may be most beneficial. o Rationale: By requiring that parents and children share their daily experiences, they can be reconnected through a common experience. The parent Shadow option should only be used to bring the parent and child together and not used to embarrass or punish the child or the parent.

Journal Entry: The student writes a daily entry into a journal for a specified period of time. Specific or general journal topics can be assigned to meet the needs of the student. For example, a student who struggles with anger management might be required to write journal entries about Daily frustrations and how you deal with them or journal entries can be less specific for student such as My day at school. Daily can also be followed up by a counseling session to encourage deeper reflection. o Rationale: Journaling can be an excellent way to promote reflective thought and help students to take greater accountability for their daily actions. Counseling Sessions: Students can be assigned counseling sessions with one of the school counselors to discuss the incident that brought them to Teen Court. When counseling is chosen as a restorative measure, the Teen Court should identify a specific topic that the the student would benefit from the most. Examples include: bullying, making friends, peer pressure, conflict resolution o Rationale: The support of a school counselor can greatly benefit struggling students by giving them a safe place to address issues that arise in school and at home. Restorative Circle Session: Restorative circles are small community meetings attended by offenders, victims, their friends and families, interested members of the community, and (usually) representatives of the justice system. During the meeting attendees address any underlying issues involved in the incident that brought the student to the Teen Court. o Rationale: Restorative circles were first used between aboriginal peoples during times of crime or conflict. They essentially bring members of the community together in an effort to restore values that are essential to community life such as empathy, honesty, transparency and accountability to one another.

Trojan Teen Court Sentencing Worksheet


Name of Defendant: ______________________________________ Name of Foreperson: _____________________________________ Sentence: Mandatory Sentence: Serve on Teen Court ______________ Times. 1. What will the defendant need to do to take accountability for his/her actions? Sentence: _____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ 2. What will the defendant need to do in order to mend the harm done by his/her actions to others? Consider the effect on all who are involved to include students involved, parents, school staff, the community and the defendant. Sentence: _____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ 3. What will the defendant need to do in order to reconnect with the community? Notes: Sentence: _____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ 4. What will the defendant need to learn in order to help them make better decisions in the future? Sentence: _____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ Additional Sentence with explanation: ________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

Trojan Teen Court Sentencing Checklist


Defendant Name: ___________________________________________Grade:__________ Date of Court Appearance ____________________ Deadline for Completion: _______________________

INSTRUCTIONS TO THE DEFENDANT: Please remember that all sentencing requirements must be completed by the 30 day deadline date it is your responsibility to ensure that each requirement is completed and verified. The completion of each restorative action must be signed/verified by an official representative of the school such as teacher, janitor, counselor, or administrator. All written restorative actions such as, letters of apology, journals, or research essays must be turned into room 511 to verify the completion of the assignment. Once you have completed all of the restorative measures and have appropriate verification signatures on your sentencing checklist you will need to report to Room 511 (Mr. White) to officially close the case.
Number of Times Serve on the Trojan Teen Court as a student volunteer Date/ Signature Date/ Signature Date/ Signature Date/ Signature Date/ Signature

Community Service

Number of Hours Assigned

Location

Number of Hours Completed

Date/ Signature

Write a letter of apology to those affected by your actions.

Names of people affected by your actions

Date/ Signature

You must submit the original letter(s) of apology to Mr. White in room. 511 for verification.

Format Topic Research Assignment

Length

Date/ Signature

You must submit a copy of the assignment(s) to Mr. White in room. 511 for verification.

Number of Times Counseling session with a school counselor

Date/ Signature

Date/ Signature

Date/ Signature

Date/ Signature

Date/ Signature

Be a Leader by sharing your experience with others.

Topic

Length

Audience

Date/ Signature

Parent/Guardian Shadow

Number of Times

Date/ Signature

Date/ Signature

Date/ Signature

Date/ Signature

Date/ Signature

Other ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________

Training Manual for Student Volunteers: Teen Court by Bret White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.