Not only does Ontario County Youth Court give first-time offender teens a chance to be judged by their peers — like adults — but it also provides opportunities for middle and high school students to learn about the judicial system and play the roles of the various court officers.
And, it’s fun.
Students can learn all about what the program, part of the Partnership for Ontario County, has to offer at an informational meeting Thursday for prospective volunteers and their parents or guardians.
Youth Court is a voluntary alternative to the traditional criminal justice system for young people who have committed certain violations or misdemeanors or who have breached their school’s student code of conduct. It is the only peer-based court in Ontario County, with sites in Canandaigua, Victor, Geneva and Bristol.
Ian Krager, communications specialist, said the vast majority of referrals come from the Ontario County Probation Department, with smaller numbers from school resource officers and administrators, the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office, and Canandaigua and Geneva police departments.