Thursday, March 1, 2018

South African Students Participate at Seattle Youth Traffic Court

South African students joined their peers at Seattle Youth Traffic Court and four had the chance to serve on the youth court juries.

The students are from the Foundation for International Understanding Through Students, a Seattle-based nonprofit based at UW that hosts groups of visiting international students for short-term exchanges focused on civic engagement and community service.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

“No one is born a citizen. You have to be taught what that means.”

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor visited Seattle Tuesday 1/30/18 for the Civics Summit at the Weston Hotel . She pushed for our schools to have a civics requirement and spoke about the importance of teaching kids how, and why, to engage with government.

“Let’s give kids the opportunity to change their own lives,” she said, as many of those listening smiled at her.

Sotomayor was in town to support the Council on Public Legal Education, a nonprofit whose mission is to promote public understanding of the law and civic rights and responsibilities. Sotomayor launched the localized version of the national online iCivics curriculum, a program that was founded in 2009 by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Washington is only the second state in the country to tailor the curriculum on how government works to the local level.

Milena Haile, a 16-year-old junior at Garfield High School, had demonstrated the workings of Seattle’s Youth Traffic Court to Sotomayor earlier in the day. As a judge on the court, Haile helps first-time traffic offenders from the ages of 16 to 18 maintain a clean driving record and avoid paying a fine. If found guilty, teenagers can opt to complete a certain number of community service hours, or write a letter of apology, or an essay.

When asked about learning civics, Haile, mentioning that her parents came from Eritrea, said: “I think it’s very necessary. There are so many inequalities in our education system.” “Withholding knowledge is injustice,” Haile continued. “Most teenagers in general don’t really know how to register to vote and how the justice system works.”

Asked about Sotomayor, Haile said, “She’s my new role model to be honest.”

Watch as the Seattle Youth Court students present a traffic court hearing at the Civics Summit.  (45:00 minute mark)


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Monday, November 13, 2017

Youth Court Updates

Bellevue Youth Court - "The student respondents are successfully completing well beyond the average 10-hour community service hours required.  Most are completing 50-60 hours on their own and coming out stronger than when they came in" - Bellevue Youth Court Volunteer

Bothell Youth Court - "We are working on grants and fundraising in hopes of being able to hire a coordinator.  We will need additional staffing if we expand to hear other types of cases outside of traffic" - Bothell Youth Court Volunteer

Cheney Youth Court - "Two years ago we came to the WSAYC Annual Conference and saw a demonstration of a youth court circle and other models. Out of that came many ideas for our own youth court.  We are also utilizing several local attorneys to help with training including questioning skills.  Because of our attending the Conference we have been able to improve our own youth court and make many connections across the State" - Commissioner Terri Cooper - Cheney Youth Court

Seattle Youth Traffic Court - "The Seattle Youth Traffic Court was an after-school program coordinated at the school by a teacher adviser. Last year, he decided that the youth court could attract more students and have access to announcements over the intercom if it were a club. He moved to establish it formally as a club at Garfield High School open to all and that has happened this year" - Jennet Mikitie, WSAYC Student Vice-President


Adult Vice-President Courtney Bell recognizes out-going
Student President Kira Bloomenthal!

Thank you, Kira, for your dedication to the Association.

Job Well Done!

WSAYC Annual Conference 2017

Some highlights from the 2017 Conference featuring Rebecca Bradlow from the King Co. Public Defenders Office; Stevens, Ferry, Pend Oreille Superior Court Juge Reeves ; Tacoma Municipal Court Judge Drew Henke; and Attorneys Josie Wiggs-Martin and Andrea Jarmon.


Jennet Mitikie

New Statewide Student Vice-President
From Seattle Youth Traffic Court