The School of Law and Business (LAB) has recently been awarded a California Partnership Academy planning grant. This grant has been awarded to our school from the California Department of Education to establish a Law Academy on our campus, beginning in the 2011-2012 school year.
We will begin the Law Academy with 70 sophomore students during the 2011-2012 school year and add a new group of sophomores each consecutive year. The first group of students to graduate from the Law Academy will be in the class of 2014. Our Law Academy will be recruiting and enrolling students between March of 2011 and the start of the new school year in September 2011. Enrollment of new students is not limited to the Crawford High School Educational Complex attendance area.
Our School of Law supports the following extracurricular activities - Teen Court, Peer Mediation, the Equity in Funding Project, Leaders in Action and Collective Voices. All of these extracurricular programs has an emphasis on matters that relate to law, restorative justice and/or helping to shape public policy through student voice.
Court is now in session at the Law and Business high school (LAB) located at the Crawford Educational Complex. Set inside the school’s new courtroom and complete with the district’s only law library, Teen Court is in its second year at the law-themed school.
One of only two schools in the district to house this unique program, LAB students get the opportunity to participate in Teen Court as jurors and courtroom personnel in a real court case with real judgments being carried out on young offenders in San Diego County. This experience allows the Law and Business students to gain real courtroom skills, and it is a second chance for the teen offenders on trial. The offenders are sent to the Teen Court from the juvenile court system in hopes of giving them a chance to avoid juvenile hall. The Teen Court program has made a significant impact on the lives of teens in trouble. The rate of repeat offenders in Teen Court is 3% while the juvenile court rate of repeat offenses in nearly 70%.
During the first trial, LAB students were conscientious and professional in their assessment of the two young offenders that appeared before them. The sentences were just and fair and intended to assist the offenders in assessing their actions and the effect their actions had on themselves, their families, and the community.
Steve Luttbeg teaches law classes to the high school students at LAB and was responsible for bringing this program to the school. “The students (of the Law and Business school) are well prepared for this experience and have to keep the proceedings confidential. Prior to participating in Teen Court, the LAB students must go through rigorous training. During this training, the students are taught the principles of Restorative Justice. They have to become familiar with the three primary issues to be addressed in the trial proceedings: repairing the harm, offender accountability, and community safety,” Luttbeg said.
Eleventh grade LAB student Saiz could not comment on the specifics of the trial, but he had this to say about his experience as a juror in Teen Court, “Jury duty is more fun then what it seems. When I’m up there I take my role seriously to hold responsible person on trial. It makes me reflect on my own actions and think twice. Teen Court gives me the power to make justice.”
The young offenders are typically allowed 90 days to satisfy the sentence of a peer jury. The offender must return to court and prove completion of the sentence. If the sentence is satisfied, the offender has no record of arrest or conviction. If the offender fails, he or she is sent directly to juvenile court for prosecution.
Crawford Law Academy Students do Mock Trials from To Kill a Mockingbird
Students read the novel To Kill a Mockingbird in Mrs. Sadler's tenth grade English class. Students who completed the book early worked in partners to write a script of the trial in the chapters they were assigned. These students then combined their scripts of the trial to create a 24 page script. Both tenth grade classes reenacted the trial in the Crawford court room.
In Mr. Luttbeg's Foundations of Law class a modern version of the trial was written which they preformed at the Moot Court room at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. The Honorable Ana Espana, a judge in San Diego, on the Crawford Law Academy Advisory Board presided over the trial. Jury members were local attorneys and law students. More information about the Moot trial can be read at the following link.