Because it’s good for young people to know their rights during legal proceedings and to be exposed to various career choices within the legal field, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Center Collinsville’s Upward Bound Scholars Academy (UBSA) program is teaching the virtual course, Trial Advocacy, to its students.
“It’s a critical subject we wanted our students exposed to, and we are happy to have such a qualified teacher to do it,” said Yvonne Hart, UBSA program director. “The weekly Zoom classes are one way our program is reaching out to make sure our students stay academically engaged and get what they need during this pandemic.”
Jennifer D. Franklin, JD, MBA, principal consultant at Sentient Strategy is the lead facilitator for the weekly course that began Sept. 14. The course ends Monday, Dec. 7.
“The purpose of the class is to teach students about the judicial system, specifically the structure and function of trials,” said Franklin. “So far, we have covered the purpose for having trials, the structure/parts of trials, pre-trial procedures (discovery and evidence issues) and jury selection.
“In each class, we learn about and examine an aspect of a trial, and its effects. Then we compare it to what is seen in movies and on TV.”
Students are learning the difference between fact and fiction in regards to what is seen on television, in the movies and in the media, versus what really happens in a trial, Franklin expounded.
“This has led students to ask more questions regarding the way trials are portrayed in the media,” she added. “Students have also raised questions regarding real legal proceedings, such as the Breonna Taylor Grand Jury process and outcome, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the legal system.”
Franklin said she is glad to see the students’ interest and excitement regarding the subject matter.
“The students are great! They always have thoughtful and relevant questions, which makes the class fun and engaging,” said Franklin. “I am honored to have the opportunity to facilitate this class and make a positive impact in the lives of UBSA students.”
“We have many students interested in law careers,” said Hart. “This is a popular course for our program, and we were determined to offer it this fall.”
UBSA has aided in student learning and well-being during the pandemic, according to the program director. Other help that the program has offered includes:
- Distribution of back-to-school supplies
- Completion of a technology survey to determine which students are in need of hotspots, computers, Chromebooks or other devices
- Student check-in surveys to determine academic, social and emotional well-being and needs
- Remote courses and tutoring during after school hours
Upward Bound Scholars Academy (UBSA) is a TRIO program federally funded by the U.S. Department of Education. UBSA serves high school students, ages 14-18, from low-income families and from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.
Jennifer D. Franklin, JD, MBA, principal consultant at Sentient Strategy is the lead facilitator for the UBSA course, Mock Trial.