Teen Court – Stopping Hate and Delinquency by Empowering Students (SHADES) - Los Angeles Superior Court

Community Outreach icon Project Name: Teen Court – Stopping Hate and Delinquency by Empowering Students (SHADES)
Court: Los Angeles Superior Court
  Links: Website
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Overview/Program Description:

Stopping Hate and Delinquency by Empowering Students (SHADES) is a specialized Teen Court that addresses bullying and youth crime rooted in hate and bias. Students on trial have their cases heard by a jury of high school students who have undergone an intensive week-long tolerance training at the Museum of Tolerance. The jury determines the verdict and recommends the sentence. Students found guilty are placed under a six month probationary period during which they receive mentorship from a Superior Court judge. These students also undergo tolerance training that assists them in developing an understanding of issues related to diversity and problems created by prejudice, hate, and bullying.

Program Benefits/Savings:

One of the major benefits of SHADES is that it makes a positive impact on offenders and their communities through a specialized experiential learning process that addresses root causes of hate and sensitizes justice system professionals to the social ills of hate-based youth violence and bullying. It also provides school disciplinarians with additional options to promote safety and tolerance, while reducing the number of students punished through traditional means (expulsions, suspensions, opportunity transfers', etc.) It creates an opportunity to work with local law enforcement and school administrators to develop protocols identifying youth who is in trouble for hate-based violence and bullying.

Students whose cases are tried in SHADES benefit in just some of the following ways when they complete the probationary period:

  1. Students are diverted from juvenile delinquency court.
  2. Criminal convictions are not part of their record.
  3. Students obtain an invaluable education and awareness about the importance of diversity and tolerance, which leads to an enriched opportunity of personal development.

Bench officers who serve as mentors also benefit from the program by building relationships with the students they mentor and the communities the students come from.