MEDINA — High school students will take up the roles of attorneys and witnesses today for a statewide mock trial competition in Medina County Common Pleas Court.
The trials begin at 8:45 and 10:45 a.m. at the Medina County Courthouse, 93 Public Square. Lake Ridge Academy and Buckeye and Cloverleaf high schools each have two teams competing. District winners will move on to a regional competition in February, with state and national competitions in March and May.
This year’s case focuses on administrators of the fictitious Philips High School, who installed security cameras and searched lockers following student protests over the school selling naming rights for a football field to a large corporation. The students claimed the school violated First Amendment free speech and Fourth Amendment search and seizure laws.
The mock trials are conducted in 29 counties across the state by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education. The Medina County Bar Association is sponsoring the local event.
Officials said the experience is rewarding for the students who are involved.
“In addition to teaching students how the U.S. Constitution is relevant to their lives, mock trial provides a wonderful opportunity for students to learn and practice their analytic and research skills,” said Lisa Eschleman, the center’s executive director. “Presenting a trial before a panel of judges and attorneys is an authentic and unique experience they will carry with them throughout their lives.”
The center is a nonprofit organization sponsored by the Ohio Supreme Court, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the Ohio Bar Association and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation.