Teaching Young People About the Legal System

teaching-teens-about-the-law_logo-of-judge-for-yourselfInterested in interactive online tools for teaching young people about the legal system? I've got two good ones, thanks to the Changing the Court blog. 

  • Judges, Courts, and the Law was developed by the Judicial Council of California. I haven't looked at all of it, but I checked out two very interesting animated sections on free speech generally and then a specific application: "The T-Shirt Game," in which users decide whether students would or should be allowed by school administrators to wear specific t-shirts with potentially offensive language or images.
  • On Judge for Yourself, from the British National Probation Service, the user gets to act as the probation officer for four offenders (one is a teenager). You can hear the story of each person's offense, a little bit about his or her background, interview the offender (you only get to ask 5 questions), and get advice from the probation officer. Though actors are used, the case histories are real. [If you're running an older machine or have a weak graphics card, you may have trouble getting this site to run.]

Both of these are (perhaps inevitably) slightly hokey, which might be hard to get past with some teens. But they're both well thought-out, entertaining, and present useful information that could provoke interesting discussions and reflection.

Teaching teens and their families about the legal system is critical, but inadequate information abounds. See this post for a useful discussion of the information gap and suggestions for closing it.

Updated: February 08 2018