Peer Court training session will begin Aug. 17 in Bolivia

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 Peer Court is a joint venture between Communities in Schools of Brunswick County and District Attorney Rex Gore.

It is an alternative system of justice that offers first time juvenile offenders between the ages of 11-16 an opportunity to admit responsibility for their offenses and receive constructive sentencing from their peers. 

Chargeable offenses may include truancy, disorderly conduct, simple affray, simple assault and others. 

Peer Court does not determine guilt or innocence; rather it recommends a constructive sentence for student defendants who have been charged with a misdemeanor offense and are willing to admit guilt.

Peer Court will begin its fourth year at Shallotte Middle School and its second year at Cedar Grove Middle School and South Brunswick Middle School. The program operates with student and adult volunteers and all students who volunteer with the program must attend a volunteer training.

The next student training begins Aug. 17 at the courthouse in Bolivia. Registration will take place in the front lobby from 8:45-9 a.m. and the training will end at 4 p.m. Training will include leadership skills, ethics, the importance of confidentiality and character education, as well as role play. The day will include meetings with members of the district attorney’s office, local judges and local attorney’s. Lunch will be provided. 

Peer Court began as an expansion of the Brunswick County Teen Court. The purpose of both programs is to give first time juvenile misdemeanor offenders a second chance at a clean record and an opportunity to admit their guilt and take responsibility for their actions. The community benefits by saving precious time in an already crowded juvenile court and allowing the juvenile court system to concentrate more time and energy on critical juvenile offenders, as well as saving the taxpayer approximately $2,000 per case. 

There is no need to pre-register prior to the day of training. For more information or questions, call Glenda Ansley, Brunswick County Teen Court director at 253-8220 or Ardith Shaw at Shallotte Middle School at 754-6882 or e-mail at ashaw@bcswan.net.