TOPEKA (KSNT) – A Topeka youth group is giving teens a hands-on approach to the law.
The Topeka Youth Project’s Youth Court holds sessions at the Shawnee County Courthouse. It works like a diversion program, where anyone ages 14-18 who have received a minor traffic violation can have it removed.
These individuals would serve as the defendants in a court proceeding. On the other side, any teen who is interested can play the part of judge, jury, prosecutor and more. Youth Court gives the youth defendant the ability to clean their slate while still teaching everyone the legal process.
“Having it at the courthouse, they really feel important and that they are actually doing something that is legal, which it is,” Andrea Ard said, the Youth Court director. “In the end, it is all finalized and legal by a judge.”
Ard said each case is then taken to a Shawnee County judge for approval. Youth Court meets on the third Thursday of each month. Teens must attend the training session to participate in Youth Court.