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Students from BHS and the Early College facilitate Teen Court

A student attorney presents closing arguments

 

Another successful session of Teen Court took place Thursday night at the Bertie County Courthouse.

 

Chief District Court Judge Brenda Branch stated, “You are the beacon for District 6,” as she emphasized the fact that the Teen Court program in Bertie County Schools is being used as the model for developing like program in surrounding counties. The program in Bertie is the only one of its kind in the East.

 

Branch said further, “I am absolutely so proud, I do not know what to do.”

 

Teen Court is a diversionary program (made possible by the school system, the D.A.’s Office and the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office) in which students who break school rules are given an opportunity to avoid juvenile court by being tried and sentenced by their peers.

Attorney Rob Lewis was the acting judge. He, Mrs. Janice Ricks, Mr. Cole and others from the D.A’s Office, gave the students some very constructive feedback and critiques on everything from their courtroom presence—to the deliveries of their arguments and ways to improve before the next case(s).

 

The students did an amazing job! Some were there last evening, participating for the first time, and Judge Lewis said they did an awesome job. He encouraged them to persevere and reminded them that, with practice, the “nerves” would go away.

 

Teen Court encourages collaborations and decision-making among peers, teaches students how to think on their feet and to speak openly to name a few. These skills will take our youth far beyond high school and in later life.

 

We are very lucky to have this program in Bertie County. A special thank-you goes to Sgt. Bonnie Powell, who is the backbone of this and other very special programs we are able to offer our students.

 

***More photos available on Facebook!