The National Judicial College partners with Boyd School of Law to bring Kids’ Court School to Northern Nevada

The National Judicial College (NJC) is proud to partner with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law to bring the Kids Court School to Northern Nevada.

The program helps educate children about the courtroom process.

Kids’ Court School will be hosted in The National Judicial College’s state-of-the-art model courtroom facility. The program, established by Boyd School of Law, teaches children strategies to reduce anxiety typically associated with participation in the judicial process. It is designed for children ages 4-17 who are participating in impending legal proceedings.

“The NJC is pleased to partner with Boyd School of Law to host a program that will instill more confidence in children and hopefully improve the quality of justice in Northern Nevada,” said NJC President Chad Schmucker.

Samantha Rice, a Boyd law school student, is the coordinator for the Northern Nevada program.

Children participate in two, one-hour sessions. The first focuses on the pretrial and trial processes, where they learn about courtroom processes and the roles and functions of courtroom participants. During this session, children also learn communication techniques, including the importance of telling the truth and the ability to ask for clarification during questioning.

Shortly before the trial begins, children participate in the second session, which includes learning the concepts of deep breathing and positive self-talk to help reduce anxiety while testifying. They also participate in a mock trial, which will take place at The National Judicial College.

Children are taught by court educators who are Boyd School of Law students pursing a law degree or a dual degree in law and a Ph.D in educational psychology.

“I’ve worked with the Kids’ Court School of the past three years,” Rice said. “It’s been an incredible experience to see children gain confidence before they testify in court. I’m excited to bring this established program to Reno to help children and youth of Northern Nevada.”

On Wednesday, Kids’ Court will be introducing the program to key players in the Northern Nevada judicial and legal community, explaining the resource and hoping agencies such as the Department of Family Services, the Juvenile Public Defenders Office and more will recruit children who need the services to the program.

Kids’ Court Founder and law and education professor Rebecca Nathanson also will present on Wednesday and train the volunteers. The program has garnered national recognition as a model for children’s courtroom education. In 2012, it won the Bright Ideas award from Harvard University and in 2015 received a U.S. Senatorial Commendation.

Children who are scheduled to appear in court in any capacity, as a witness, victim or youth charged with a crime, are eligible to participate in the Kids Court School. There is no charge for participation.

NJC News