The Kids’ Court School had its 1,000th Child Celebration on March 13 in the Thomas & Mack Moot Court. The Kids’ Court School, a 2012 Harvard University Bright Idea Award winner, is a nationally recognized program that educates children and youth about the judicial process and teaches strategies to reduce system-related stress. Children, ages 4-17 with impending legal proceedings, attend 2 one-hour sessions, at no cost, to learn about court.
The 1,000th Child Celebration began with an overview of the Kids’ Court School and a demonstration of the program. Two children, ages 6 and 7, were taught the curriculum by a law student and then participated in a mock trial with additional law students assuming the roles of various courtroom participants, such as the bailiff, and prosecuting and defense attorneys. The demonstration enabled attendees to see what is taught at the Kids’ Court School. Moreover, it enabled the audience to observe the effects of the program on young children’s legal knowledge as well as their anxiety about testifying in a (mock) trial.
The demonstration was followed by a keynote address titled, “Child Witnesses: From Research to Practice.” A Certificate of Commendation was then presented by Senator Harry Reid’s office “In commendation of Kids’ Court School having served 1,000 children in Nevada by educating them about the judicial process and empowering them to have a voice in court.” The UNLV Boyd School of Law has also recently partnered with the National Judicial College to bring this successful program to Northern Nevada.