'Court in the Classroom' showcased at Garfield Heights Middle School to keep students away from crime

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - Court was in session at Garfield Heights Middle School.

It's a program called "Court In The Classroom", organized by the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.

Judge Steven Gall presided over actual court cases Friday as hundreds of students got the chance to see exactly how the justice system works.

One defendant was there to face the judge after admitting he drove a car while intoxicated.

Judge Gall sentenced him to treatment and some time in jail.

It got the students talking.

"What if I end up doing something and I get them type of years and mess up my life? I just wouldn't do it, mess up my career," one eighth grader said.

One of the goals of the program is to use the case as a learning opportunity as a deterrent to keep kids away from crime.

Organizers said they do sessions 12-15 times a year in classrooms all over the county and that the students are engaged.

"I hope the kids go away with the feeling that while the courts can be a scary place, we're there to help people and become productive citizens and get their lives back on the road," Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Darren Toms said.

The program is expanding.

If your district would be interested in hosting a session of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, please contact Community Outreach Coordinator Darren Toms at dtoms@cuyahogacounty.us.

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