Tonawanda News

September 18, 2013

NT youth court program gets boost

By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — A youth court program that has been tied to the North Tonawanda for years received a surprise boost from Niagara County this week. 

The program puts together volunteers made up of North Tonawanda High School students who act as judge and jury during mock trials, but also often deal with real life implications. 

Patty Brosius, the city’s director of the Department of Youth, Recreation and Parks, said 20 to 30 students generally participate in the program, while other juveniles who had been arrested by North Tonawanda police for minor offenses such as vandalism often stand before them, where a decision is rendered by those of their own age group. 

“It trains students how to be judge and jury,” she said. 

The program, funded through the Niagara County Department of Social Services, is required to process 30 juveniles through its system, with the aim of keeping at least 75 percent of them out of the juvenile court system, according to the terms of its contract with the city. It also holds regular seminars for elementary and high school students as a preemptive measure.

The city already received $6,439 to run the program during the current fiscal year, but recently received correspondence from a county official stating that due to the its success, it would get an $863 bump in funding. 

The common council unanimously approved accepting the funds Tuesday.

Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.