Supreme Court Educates West Tennessee Students

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McKENZIE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Supreme Court had a much larger audience than usual on Thursday. Court was held at Bethel University in front of nearly 1,000 high school and college students throughout the day. The court heard three actual cases in front of the students as part of the SCALES Program – Supreme Court Advocating Legal Education for Students. “This may be the only opportunity in a lifetime they have to see an actual Supreme Court case, not just a mock trial but a real trial. I think it was wonderful,” McKenzie High School teacher Dan Ridley said. Judge Donald Parish helped spearhead the program, and said an experience like this is invaluable to students. “The opportunity for young people to learn about the court system is not there to the degree many of us feel that it should be,” Judge Parish said. For several weeks, Carroll and Decatur County students have studied the cases, just like the justices. Students say seeing this project in action took everything that they have learned from the textbook and they were able to see it in real life. “We took a court case and used it as a complex text study to give our students the opportunity to write about. We taught writing and the judicial process at the same time,” Ridley said. The SCALES program began in 1995 and has been a part of more than 450 school across the state of Tennessee.

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