SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The only verdict rendered at Savannah High School Thursday was that the Street Law Program was a success.
The national program came to Savannah for the first time this school year, providing some Savannah High students a better understanding of the law as well as mentoring from Savannah Law School students and practicing lawyers.
Street Law was offered through a partnership between Savannah Law School and the U.S. Attorney's office as a way of potentially helping the community.
"As you know we have some issues with crime and violence in Savannah," said Ed Tarver, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. "Hopefully they will be able to take the information they learned in the street law program and apply it to what they read in the newspaper, what they hear on television on the news about what's going on in their communities and hopefully it will help them to make better decisions in terms of their interactions with their peers and with other folks in the community."
The program culminated Thursday with a mock trial.
Students served as lawyers, witnesses and jurors, preparing opening and closing statements as well as direct and cross examination.
"I took really deep breaths and I just kept telling myself, I can do it, I can do it," said SHS junior Brianna Williams, who was on the prosecution team for the mock trial. "(The mentors) helped me to push myself to do things I don't usually do, such as speaking in front of people."
The defense and prosecution will discuss the results with their mentors in lieu of a decision.
But the program's impact became evident in today's pretend hall of justice and the actual halls of Savannah High.
"All of our students who are in that class have been certified as peer mentors and so they've had the opportunity to work with some students on our campus who have had some conflict," said SHS principal Tammy Broadnax. "They're been able to learn how to mediate with that, to be able to have kids to say, hey, let's try it a different way."