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Teen Court accepting applications

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During the month of September, Teen Court representatives will be speaking at high schools throughout Sumner County to recruit new members. The deadline for the applications is Sept. 29.

Any student interested in Teen Court must either live in Sumner County or attend a Sumner County High School. Students may not have any prior delinquent record or be under a valid court order from Juvenile Court. Permission is required by a parent or guardian to join the program. Teen Court will only be accepting applications for students in grades 9, 10, and 11.

Our program has been a positive force in the lives of 384 youth respondents since April 2002, by providing them a second chance while holding them accountable for their behavior. Teen Court currently has 72 members from all over Sumner County who devote their time to the program.

In Tennessee, there are 13 active Teen Courts. Sumner County holds the distinction of being the first to follow the statute. In a society where teens are often considered the cause of problems, Teen Court will continue to allow them to be a part of the solution.

The Teen Court program provides juveniles who are first time offenders, an opportunity to face a jury of their peers. These peers are students who live or attend a school in Sumner County and have completed an average of 14 hours of intense training provided by local attorneys and other volunteers.

The juvenile will have a separate hearing held where their peers fulfill the roles of the courtroom (three defense attorneys, three prosecuting attorneys, clerk, bailiff and up to 12 jurors.) The jury will then make the appropriate sanctions for the crime.

The Juvenile Court Judge and Magistrate will determine who will be granted this opportunity. Teen Court's purpose is to intervene early in delinquent or unruly behavior while providing an educational forum for first time offenders in the community.

If you would like more information regarding this program, an application or for a representative to speak at your school, please contact Tammy Kellogg, Programs Coordinator for Sumner County Juvenile Court at 451-6035.

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