The topic was bullying in an exercise to have students learn about justice with a mock trial.
The trial was for a school bullying case, Billings vs. Pearson. Judge Michael Riordan instructed the plaintiff’s lawyer to begin the opening statements.
The lawyer wore a tailored blue suit and straightened as he said “C.J. Pearson inflicted emotional distress upon Alex Billings and the school failed to provide protection.” He continued in a dramatic fashion. “But before the defense says it’s a game, it is not a game. Over 2,000 text messages is not a game.”
Judge Riordan was impressed with the plaintiff’s lawyer, especially since he is only 13 and in the seventh grade. The student and his friends from Cornerstone Charter Schools’ Washington Park Academy are members of the after school Judge Michael Riordan Law Club. For seven months they prepared fort the mock trial about cyber bullying, held in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice.
Some students played witnesses, while others were lawyers and major players in the bullying incident. The students held direct examinations, cross-examinations, and everything else that is experienced in a real trial, including sulky defiant defendants.