Our February Class day brought the inner workings of government to life! We headed up to Brunswick City Hall to meet with Mayor Falconi and his staff. A few students were even picked to participate in a live “Mayor’s Court” demonstration. The Mayor answered questions about his job as a lawyer, a mayor, and then discussed his recent involvement in a cultural exchange program with Japan.
We spent our afternoon at the Medina County Juvenile Detention Center (MCJDC). Magistrate Susana Lewis took students through the U.S. Supreme Court case of In re Gault to explain how juvenile rights came to be protected in our courts. Superintendent, Ron Stollar, and Assistant Superintendent, Megan Millikin, explained the progressive techniques that they use, from positive behavior reinforcement to art therapy, and beyond. Through their efforts, the MCJDC has become a model example of how rehabilitation can fight recidivism.
I could tell you that students were amazed. I could tell you that there were many “ah ha” moments of self-reflection and self-realization. Instead, I’d like to share with you the words of just one of the many students who wrote similar thoughts on their evaluations for the day. It makes me so proud of all of them:
“I was really pleased with this part of the day and really found it interesting. I was really humbled by this experience. Before learning about everything these kids go through I was talking like a spoiled, ignorant, privileged kid, saying I didn’t feel bad for these kids because they knew what they did was wrong and they shouldn’t have done the deed. However, now I have sympathy for these kids. They grew up in the exact opposite way that I did. I will never have to worry about things that these kids face everyday and I will never have to experience neglect from my parents like some of these kids deal with. I am definitely interested in getting involved with children who suffer from different types of neglect, or issues such as these kids have in my future. I want to help break the cycle of like breeds like for these kids, to help our future in the Medina County I grew up in and love.”