In-school Youth Court sessions expanding in Geneva

Students accused of wrongdoing at Geneva High School may be judged by trained peers in their own school beginning in September as part of an expansion of the Ontario County Youth Court program.

In-school Youth Court will also be offered at the Wayne-Finger Lakes Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-Tech) at the Midlakes Education Center in Clifton Springs.

Yvonne Vazquez, Youth Court program director, said the program started as a pilot at Geneva Middle School two years ago and really took off last fall with regular referrals involving school disciplinary matters.

The school-based justice program will apply to incidents that happen in school — such as bullying, arguing, disrespecting teachers, walking out of class or running from authorities — and will be dealt with in school with student peers meting out appropriate discipline. If students do not follow through or get into more trouble, matters go back to school authorities.

“We had a graffiti incident earlier this year,” Vazquez said. “The student came before their peers, got sanctioned to clean up the mess, but got into further trouble.”

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