It has been seven years since the 27th District Court has held a Court-to-Schools program. In the months of April and May, 2019, the Honorable Elizabeth L. DiSanto, of the 27th District Court, held a Court-to-Schools program at Gabriel Richard Catholic High School, Riverview High School, Seitz Middle School, Roosevelt High School and Wilson Middle School.
During the Court to Schools program, Judge DiSanto conducted court sentencings involving defendants who had been convicted of a misdemeanor offense, such as driving while visibly impaired by alcohol or drugs, larceny, disorderly conduct, etc.
Each participant had previously agreed to have his or her sentencing held at the school.
The students also heard one of the defendants tell their story. Further, there were two additional speakers who told their story about how drugs and alcohol had changed their lives.
The students seemed very impacted after listening to these life changing stories.
There were many questions and statements put forward by some students at the middle schools. The impact the speakers had on the students were profound and a few students had the courage to speak about their own mental health.
This type of presentation allows school age audience members to see first-hand the legal, social, financial, and physical consequences of engaging in risky behaviors. The purpose of the program is to educate the students so he or she may consider these consequences before they, or their friends, engage in such behaviors.
School administrators were happy to have the programs in their buildings.
“Thank you to Judge DiSanto and the 27th District for bringing the Court to Schools Program to Seitz Middle School,” said principal Nicole M. Munoz. “Students were able to see first-hand the consequences of engaging in risky behaviors while understanding the concepts of redemption, restitution and making amends. Students learned about careers in law enforcement, the judicial system and the importance of education
“I was especially moved when Judge DiSanto ordered one of the defendants to obtain a GED as part of his sentencing and he thanked her.
“The speakers shared their testimony on how drugs and alcohol impacted their lives and offered the promise of hope and restoration to those that seek recovery.
“Several students shared their own struggles of depression and anxiety after relating to the speaker’s stories. I am so proud of our students for their courage to speak in front of hundreds of their peers. The Court-to-Schools Program was much more than we ever anticipated. We appreciate all the efforts that went into making this life-changing event possible.”
Julie Poslajko, whose son is a student at Gabriel Richard High School, echoed Munoz’s thoughts.
“Judge Disanto has made a significant impact on our teenagers by bringing the Court to School Program to Gabriel Richard,” she said. “My son came home that day anxious to discuss all of the cases and how a few of the court participants shared their stories.
“It was a real life lesson on the consequences for poor decisions and how those consequences can have a major impact on your life. It made a powerful impression on all of the students.
“Thank you Judge DiSanto!”