Blount County Youth Court Will Honor Senior Jurors

Blount County Youth Court will celebrate another year of helping troubled teens during a ceremony honoring outgoing senior jurors Thursday.

The celebration will take place at 5:30 p.m. at Blount Partnership on Washington Street. Six area high school seniors — Emma Bishop, Sidney Boles, Katherine Cohen, Brittany Fehling, Nicole Knox, and McKayla Smith — will be honored for their contributions.

 The Youth Court program began three years ago as a legacy project for the Leadership Blount Class of 2013. It operates under the supervision of the Blount County Juvenile Court and Judge Kenlyn Foster.

The program includes youth court jurors drawn from across Blount County. Meeting twice a month, year-round, the jurors hear cases involving first-time, non-violent juvenile offenders.

The youth whose cases they hear have chosen to enter Youth Court as part of a judicial diversion program. Foster has said the program operates under the principle of “restorative justice.”

“That means there should be consequences, but not punishment,” she said at the youth court swearing-in ceremony in 2015.

Youth Court jurors have some latitude in issuing decisions. Sentences have included such things community service, essay writing and restitution.

Youth Court is part of a nationwide program, with chapters in several states. It operates through donations from individuals and businesses, as well as through a discretionary grant from the United Way.

The Blount County Youth Court is currently accepting applications. Interested high school students can apply by downloading an application on the Youth Court Facebook page, or by contacting local attorney Lynn Peterson of Lewis Thomason. Peterson is the chair of the youth court board of directors.

Click here to see the article in the May 4th edition of The Daily Times.

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