Sidney Central
School District
Law and Government class holds mock trial
Students in Lori DePauw’s Law and Government course spent the semester learning about law, as well as both criminal and civil court cases, and the trial process in the courtroom. 
They first practiced with a criminal case involving a college hazing situation, and learned how to make objections, write and deliver opening and closing statements, as well as learn how to craft lines of questioning for direct and cross examination. 
For their final exam, the class held a trial in the high school auditorium – The People vs. Carson Conners. 
The case is focused on Carson Conners, a 19-year-old senior in high school at Bigtown High. She was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct (Penal Law, 240.20). The charge resulted from an incident where she was observed by an English teacher to, what would appear to be repeatedly pushing an unidentified student in the hallway. 
Pursuant to the school’s no-bullying policy, the teacher approached Conners to take her to the office to see the assistant principal. Conners broke free of the grasp, and yelled some insulting comments to the teacher. 
Two police officers, assigned to the high school as resource officers (SROs), and who monitor the hallway using closed-circuit television, observed the altercation and rushed to the scene. Conners continued to be belligerent when the officers arrived, indicating she didn’t want to go to the assistant principal’s office. Based on their observations and what the teacher told them, the officers, who are authorized to make arrests on school grounds, placed Conners under arrest and to a nearby police station for processing. 
As the trial unfolds, audience members learn that Conners, along with a significant number of low-achieving students, have been suspended at the same time as high-stakes assessments were occurring. The district had pressured the teachers to improve on those assessments. Could this have been a case of a school to prison pipeline conspiracy or a simple disorderly conduct situation? 
Sidney’s SRO, Deputy Dave Barnes of the Delaware County Sheriff’s Department, served as the judge for the trial. Following the verdict, in which the prosecution won, he talked about the case and what helped him make his judgement. Principal Eben Bullock also explained how a school would have reacted, and what might have happened if this scene had happened in the hallways of Sidney Central School. 
“This group of students did an outstanding job and are to be commended on their preparation and delivery of their two theories,” DePauw said.
See a gallery of photos from the trial below. 
Sidney Central School District
95 West Main Street  |  Sidney, NY 13838  |   Phone: 607.563.2135  |   Fax: 607.563.2386
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