Witnesses were questioned and facts were uncovered Dec. 8 in this year’s Lorain County mock trial, with students from Prospect Elementary School making their presence felt.
The program is set up through the gifted consortium of the Education Service Center of Lorain County with students acting as lawyers, witnesses, jurors, and bailiffs.
This year, 451 fifth through eighth grade students from seven area districts took part.
In separate courtrooms, Prospect worked both sides of Cavanaugh v. Cup, a hypothetical civil case pitting a customer burned by a hot cup of coffee against a shop owner.
Prospect students also served as the prosecution in Parker v. Paradise, where a teacher’s methods and materials were called into question after a student was seriously injured by a homemade volcano science project.
“Did your parents monitor what you were doing?” Prospect’s Ella Skvor asked a witness. “Did you perform the experiment correctly and how did you store the products?”
North Ridgeville lawyer Kevin Corcoran was one of many area lawyers who filled the role of judges in the mock trials.
“I’ve worked with different age groups in this program and giving a kid their first experience with this kind of work is very special to me,” he said. “It gives great perspective on what it’s really like to sit in those seats when it counts.”
Mark Millar, a gifted supervisor at the ESC, said annual preparation for the mock trials is a lengthy process in which real attorneys travel to schools to help students and teachers prepare.
“Right after we get done here, we’ll do an evaluation of everything that happened,” he said. “Did it go well? Did it not go well? What can we improve on? The process of organizing this starts in early August in terms of making the rooms available. The trials are sent out to the teacher’s in September, so everyone has a few months to practice.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.