Participating in Teen Court as a volunteer is an important form of community service, because you are helping other students who have violated the law to be held accountable for their actions in a constructive way that will let the offenders have a second chance to have a clean record without a delinquent or criminal conviction. This type of community service benefits the community and also gives the volunteer the chance to develop new skills. In order to be a Teen Court volunteer, you must agree to abide by certain rules. Some of these rules are necessary so that we can continue to hold Teen Court hearings in the Durham County Judicial Building. The rules are also important, because they help you do your job as a volunteer in a way that upholds the goals and purposes of Teen Court. As a volunteer, you are a role model, and Teen Court depends upon you accepting this responsibility. Be serious about your role in Teen Court and conduct yourself in a business-like or professional manner.
Be neat and clean in your appearance. Shirts should be tucked in, and collared shirts are preferred. No crop tops or tank tops, and no shorts. Jeans should be neat and clean. Slacks and skirts are preferred.
Treat each case individually and with objectivity. Be fair and do not show prejudice.
Treat all Teen Court participants with equal courtesy, whether a friend or stranger to you. Refrain from negative comments or gossip about anyone.
Arrive on time. If you are an offender, clerk, bailiff or attorney report to the Teen Court Coordinator at 5:30 PM in the appropriate courtroom. Other participants should arrive at 6:00 PM and plan to stay until 7:30 PM.
When you arrive at the courthouse, go directly to the assigned courtroom – do not wander about the halls – it is necessary that you remain in the courtroom for the Teen Court session. Hats should not be worn in court, and there should be no eating or drinking.
It is important to show respect in Court – no talking, socializing or laughing in the courtroom. We want defendants to take the proceedings seriously, so other participants must take the proceedings seriously too.
Address the Judge with respect as “Your Honor” or “May it please the Court.”
If you are assigned a case or a role in a Teen Court hearing, remember everyone is depending on you to be there and to be prepared. If you cannot attend, please let the Teen Court Coordinator know, as soon as possible, so that she can find a replacement.
You must have permission of your parent or guardian to participate in Teen Court.