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Within some basic parameters, the teen court model is a flexible one. Youth should have primary roles in presenting and hearing cases and the teen court’s fundamental approach should be restorative in nature, focusing on positive peer interactions, allowing the respondent to redress any harm done to the community and providing opportunities for positive youth development for both members and respondents. Beyond the basic features, the structures of teen courts vary. In all teen court models, staff train, supervise and manage the teen court members and are responsible for ensuring respondents complete assigned sanctions.
Peer Jury: In this model, teen court members assume the roles of jurors, judge and advocates for the youth and the community. Members also act as bailiff and advocate for the victim. The advocates present the case, but it is the jury that does primary questioning of the respondent, deliberates and assigns the sanction(s). Fifteen to 20 members participate in a single hearing and rotate through the roles on different cases. A key feature of the peer jury model is the use of consensus decision-making when determining sanctions. The adult judge presides over the hearings and approves of any sanctions recommended by the jury.
PCSSD teen court will hear cases of disciplinary violations that may otherwise result in suspension or other sanctions. Cases are referred to administrators by teachers, school resource officers, and other staff.
A variety of cases will be heard in order to strengthen the civic engagement and youth development experiences of members.