Mansfield 4th grade students took a trip to the Sebastian County Juvenile Detention Center, the Fort Smith Police Station, and Sebastian County Court Room. It was quite the experience for all students!
Students toured the facilities, and officers explained what it was like to be in the detention center. They explained where they would sleep, what they would eat, and what would happen in a typical day at the center. The officers took time to answer questions from students, as well as explain that this was no where they would want to end up in the future. At the age of ten, students are legal to be sentenced to the juvenile detention center for punishment due to breaking the law. Students were challenged to make good choices so that they did not end up with bad consequences.
After touring the detention center, students were then brought to a briefing room in the Fort Smith Police Department where Corporal Mike Burcham explained the process of what would happen if they were arrested. He explained that being with friends who influence you in a negative way will cause you to fall into negative habits. He encouraged students to make decisions that are wise and to obey the law.
Last, they visited the courtroom. Students were greeted by Sebastian County Circuit Judge Stephen Tabor. Tabor explain the history of court room and what was to be expected should they find themselves within a courtroom. Students were then able to ask questions to the Judge. Here are a few of the following questions asked by students:
“Your honor, what’s the hardest part of your job?” His reply was, “The hardest part of my job is civil cases. There is a lot of reading to do. Really boring!”
“Your honor, what happens if you don’t wear your robe?” Judge Tabor simply replied, “Well, you know, I don’t have to wear it if I don’t want too, but it’s tradition. You don’t see that very often though.”
A teacher asked, “Do you have a hard time separating your faith and feelings?” He answered, “Well, I have gotten to see heroes and people who have saved lives, but I’ve also seen bad people and some knuckle heads. So, it balances out. I realized a long time ago that the world isn’t like the way it was when I grew up.”
Once “court” was adjourned, students then traveled to CiCi’s pizza for a delicious lunch before heading back to school. Various students talked at lunch about their experience at the detention center and realized that they never want to go there. This positive experience showed kids that bad choices have bad consequences, and good choices are always so much better in life.