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Everything you need to know about Bullard’s Youth Court

Xandra Lancaster and Kesslyn Cousins

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Bullard’s Youth Court is almost back in session. The first cases will be heard Oct. 12 by student jurors and presiding judge.

Youth Court is a program where students, if they are first-time offenders and have admitted guilt, go in front of a group of jurors made up of Bullard students. The jurors’ job, unlike those at most regular court proceedings, is to ask questions and figure out what consequences will help the student who committed the crime learn and grow. 

If the student completes the sentence, then the offense is wiped off their record completely, and they are free to go. If they do not complete their sentence, then their cases are transferred to the county jail, where they would then have to face the consequences given to them by their new judge.

Mrs. Vannata, who has been in charge of the program for about five years, said the best thing about the program is that “the kids listen and they figure out the sentence, and being that the sentence is meant to improve behavior, they figure out things from their past experiences.”

The probation officer in charge, Officer Kristy Larralde, who has been at Bullard and working with the program for two years. She estimated that about 40 students go through the program each year. Although, she said, “Last year there were a lot; we actually had to add some court dates.”

If you would like to see what Youth Court is like, then Mrs. Vannata encourages you to “come out and just see what it’s about. You don’t have to be a juror right away, just sit and listen. Most of the kids that do that end up liking it.

“They come back because it’s nothing like they thought,” she said. “They can’t believe it’s real, because it is a real judge wearing the black robe. This is not make believe in high school; this is official business through the city of Fresno.”

Training for new jurors begins Oct. 4 after school in the Bullard court room. More information is available from Ms. Vannata in Room S21.

 

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The news site of Bullard High School.
Everything you need to know about Bullard’s Youth Court