Civic Education Expands Young Minds
By Csaba Sukosd | December 16, 2022
The Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center is a learning experience for all visitors, especially young students.
The home of the Supreme Court of Ohio welcomes more than 10,000 students from across the state each year, offering school tours and a chance to learn more about the Ohio court system and its role in shaping state history.
"I learned a lot of stuff I didn't know about the law or my rights," said Zakhya Mason, a sixth grader from Mansfield after a recent visit.
The visits show students the importance of the law and interaction between the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of government.
"You want to learn how to follow laws and how they're created to understand how they became a law," said Lila Franjesevic, a fourth grader from Bellefontaine.
The tours also highlight the three levels of Ohio's court system - trial, appellate, and Supreme Court. The experience is inspiring to young minds already considering a career in the legal system like Adair Ruiz, an eighth grader from Canton.
"I find it very interesting how the system works, and how you can appeal to higher courts and see if they can overturn a decision," Ruiz said.
The Supreme Court's Civic Education team works to make the understanding of government hands on and accessible. Building tours include the Visitor Education Center with interactive exhibits that explain the judicial system and notable state cases. Students also get the chance to put the law into action by participating in mock trials. They play the roles of attorneys, judges, parties, and juries to learn first-hand the work of a trial court.
"It's good to hear how the lawyers see it and what others in the jury think because then you can get all sides of a story," said Quinn Sciaterra, a sixth grader from Mansfield.
The Supreme Court has many other resources for students and teachers to learn about the court system. The Civic Education staff offers numerous materials and lesson plans that can be used year-round to develop a better understanding of the justice system and the rights it gives to people.
"We have a system in place that protects your rights and makes sure that both sides of a case will get looked at," said Kevin Six, a Canton middle school teacher. "It's a system that's based in fairness."