The Huntington School Board approved an agreement with the Town of Huntington relating to the town’s youth court program. The district committed to the town and related agencies “access to school buildings for the purpose of meeting with students, obtaining student volunteers, training student volunteers and as otherwise reasonably necessary.”
The district and its students have participated in the youth court program for many years. The program will run through August 2019.
“The parties to this agreement recognize that the youth court program is a community based intervention/prevention program that is designed to provide an alternative resource for the juvenile justice system for first-time non-violent misdemeanor juvenile offenders where community youth determine what, if any, sanction(s) should be imposed for the offense(s) of the defendant,” states the agreement.
The Suffolk Probation Dept. evaluates potential youth court cases and sends its findings to the “designated assessment unit” for potential referral to the town’s program.
The youth court is staffed by students, which fill the positions of judge, prosecutor, defense counsel, jury and bailiff and court clerk. Participants in the program are volunteers who undergo a six to ten week training program with actual attorneys, judges and social workers and/or probation officials.
The Town Board reviewed “all of the facts associated with the youth court program” and “determined it to be in the public interest” to continue its sponsorship “so as to provide educational services to the youth offenders and volunteers in an effort to promote long-term behavioral change that leads to enhanced public safety.”
Huntington trustees voted without dissent to approve the agreement.