Edgar Cahn discussed "true peer justice" and Youth Courts as part of a 4-hour CLE/Act 48 training at the Delaware County Bar Association on May 7, 2019. The 84-year-old founder of TimeBanking has devoted decades of his career to educational and juvenile justice reform. Recounting how the day before, he'd asked fourth grade students: "'Have you ever been subjected to something unfair?', over and over, they said, 'I've been bullied'" but didn't speak to an adult about it. The students "understand the basic concepts of justice" even at that young age, Cahn noted.
Southeastern PA school districts with Youth Courts in place include Chester city, Upper Darby, Norristown, Cheltenham, Philadelphia and Methacton, primarily at the high school and middle school levels. Students are trained to serve as jurors, to ask questions of the student offender (respondent) about why s/he made the infraction, and how it affected the school, other students, etc. before determining a restorative punishment such as an apology to those affected, community service, and/or later service on a Youth Court jury.
Interested in youth courts but missed the CLE at Delco Bar? On Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, the PA Council for the Social Studies (https://pcssonline.org) will hold a 6-hour Youth Courts session for both CLE and Act 48 credits.