Mary Help of Christian Middle School students filed into their gym today, but it wasn't for a lesson on physical education. Today, students focused on a life lesson they won't soon forget. A real-life court case unfolded before their very eyes. It's part of a local program called 'Court in Schools'.
Both hands hands and feet cuffed. Defendants facing a variety of drug related charges were paraded in front of these impressionable young students at Mary Help of Christians school. A sentencing outside your traditional court setting. Perhaps, more importantly a hard edged message from those who have learned the hard way. Laredo state District Judge Oscar Hale says he holds these proceedings in front of a school crowd to help spread awareness of drug use. This program started several years back. This is the first one this year. It marks a string of live court proceedings which has touched all Laredo high schools, and now all middle schools.
Judge Hale says the response has been positive, but even if only one of these young minds soaks up the lesson. He says it's well worth it. "Hopefully students will see that there are serious consequences."
Judge Hale started the "Court in School" program three years ago. After seeing its positive impact, State Representative Richard Raymond has now proposed that the program be expanded to other state courts and school districts in the state.