English classes putting skills on trial in mock courtrooms

Peet junior high has been partaking mock trial the past three years in select English classes. Brian Suiter is the teacher who uses this activity to teach students how to use argumentative papers in real life situations.

The situation the students will be arguing in the mock trial is about one freshman student cyber bullying another student. The victim of the bully has decided to sue the school and the bully.

“I am most excited to see how the trial will play out and see who puts up the best case,” said Natalie Lang, who is playing the role of Alex Billings, the plaintiff.

As for the setup of the trial, the students get to watch multiple sets of videos explaining how the trial will go down. Suiter then picks the rolls for students, and they get into three separate teams: the defense team, the plaintiff team and the jury members. The plaintiff and the defense teams will get together and come up with opening statements, and the lawyers will come up with questions for cross and direct examination.

“Students learn about the legal process, school policies and why they are created, and how different people look at different rules and issues,” Suiter said.

Many of the students have been very excited to participate in the mock trial. They have been working very hard on the case and finding strong arguments. It has even inspired some students to think about a career in law.

Sabrina Leistikow is one of them. “I want to become a lawyer, and this trial has helped me see how much I love being able to change someone’s opinion just by using my words.”

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