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Clay-Battelle Students Get Schooled on Judicial System

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MORGANTOWN -

At some point in our education most of us learn about the judicial system, but few of us get this close, nor want to.


Middle school students from Clay-Battelle Wednesday were in the courtroom and behind bars learning valuable life lessons.

"Four years ago I started Classrooms to Courtrooms, it's the opportunity to bring middle school aged students into the courtroom and see live proceedings, and hopefully influence them in the future to make better decisions in their own life," said Monongalia County Magistrate Sandy Holepit.

For those in the front of the courtroom, Wednesday's events were real life and for the students sitting in the back, it was an educational experience about what happens when you don't obey the law.

Magistrate Sandy Holepit explained every step of the judicial process to students as she went along.

"If they just came in here and sat down and watched the proceedings, they would be lost. So I always try to take the time to explain actually what we are doing, what the cases are about and what can happen," said Holepit.

After their session in court, students got a special tour of the Monongalia County Sheriff's Department, complete with fingerprinting and time behind bars.

"I think it's really important for their civic education that they get out there and get a first hand experience seeing this for themselves, and getting the opportunity to go into the cells. A lot of them want to go into law enforcement or law school so they're really enjoying this opportunity, said Lindsay Augustine, Clay-Batelle Middle School student teacher.

These students may have enjoyed their first stay in a holding cell, but all involved hope it's their last. Magistrate Holepit said she hopes time spent in court and with the sheriff is a positive experience.

"To know the judicial system works, we're the best system in the whole world, and that there are consequences to people's actions," said Holepit.