FRAMINGHAM – Students at Framingham’s Christa McAuliffe Charter School presented their work entitled, “Justice for Who? Legacies of Reconstruction in the Juvenile Justice System” at a public event Wednesday night.
Students were joined by two well-known advocates of juveniles in the justice system who shared their thoughts. Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan spoke about diversion, while the Honorable Judge Jay Blitzman, the First Justice for the Lowell Juvenile Court, Middlesex County, spoke on the criminalization of adolescence.
“A lot of hard work and research went into these projects and the students should be very proud of the informative infographics that are the final product,” said District Attorney Ryan. “Thank you to the staff and students at the McAuliffe Charter school for inviting me to participate in this important program.”
District Attorney Ryan worked with students over the course of the project to provide data and information for the infographic and by participating in a Skype interview. The finished product, titled “Fork in the Road”, created by Megan Sidmore and Cecelia Hamptondepicts the options that are available to eligible juveniles following the commission of a crime.
As part of the 8th grade Humanities Expedition “Justice,” Christa McAuliffe students spent several weeks meeting with experts on juvenile justice. Experts provided the students with data related to the juvenile justice system which became the basis for their thoughtful and creative infographics.
At the event, students presented the results of their their trimester-long research which has included learning about the Civil War and the Reconstruction period – the period after the Civil War – through literary works, historical research, and meetings with experts who work within or around the juvenile justice system.
Students presented infographics which explained their research relating to specific topics including race, gender, LBGTQ, and specific programs such as Adolescent Consultation Services, non-profits such as ROCA and the Youth Services Department itself.
The goals of the Middlesex District Attorney’s Juvenile Diversion Program is to foster acceptance of responsibility and consequences, to keep the juvenile out of the criminal justice system, to prevent the creation of a criminal record, and ultimately to reduce recidivism and help to provide a road map to a successful future.
The program is designed to work with first-time juvenile offenders as an alternative to prosecution. The program allows juveniles the opportunity to complete a program and/or community services instead of formal prosecution.
If the juvenile satisfies all of the requirements of diversion, there will be no further proceedings in the criminal justice system related to the matter.
The Christa McAuliffe Charter School is a diverse expeditionary eearning public school for students in grades 6 – 8. The school’s hands-on curriculum cultivates high levels of student engagement, responsibility for learning, and enduring character growth.