Order, Order in the High School Courtroom!

John Dewey High School By Ultraman X77 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24830101

This might not have been the easiest year for high schoolers, but for a student who has his eyes set on becoming a lawyer, some good news is on the way. 

City Council Member Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend) announced Thursday that Abraham Lincoln High School and John Dewey High School, and Mark Twain Intermediate School will be receiving a brand new courtroom classroom secured under $1.25 million funding.  

The contemporary courtroom classrooms at Lincoln High School and Dewey High School will include a jury stand, judicial bench, audio and visual equipment and new furnishings to completely replicate a courtroom.

The courtroom classrooms will join the long-standing courtroom at Brooklyn’s James Madison High School, whose alumni include about 10 judges and elected officials with the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Badar Ginsburg, and U. S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT) among them.   

City Councilmember Mark Treyger
Attorney Eric Gonzalez
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez

“I think expanding on legal studies is really important particularly in the moment that we’re in when we are valuing and cherishing our constitution like never before,” Treyger commented. 

Following in the steps of a 2018 courtroom classroom installment in the Twain Intermediate School, lawmakers gathered at the event cited that providing students with hands-on experience can help them prepare for their future careers. 

Chief among those was Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez who attended John Hewey High School when he was a teenager and also announced that his office will partner with the three Southern Brooklyn schools to offer student internship and mentoring opportunities.

“I know that these state of the art classrooms will make them better scholars by providing a hands-on educational experience,” he said.

This new classroom would be put to use in these schools as they already have legal academy tracks that conduct mock trials and moot court competitions and a partnership with the Justice Resource Center and NYC law firms for student internships. 

“When you do a moot court in a classroom, it’s not just not the same. To put it in athletic terms it’s almost like sending out a football team without the proper equipment,” said Principal of Lincoln High school Ari Hoogenboom. 

John Barton, a Social Studies Teacher at Lincoln, added on to Hoogenboom’s comments, saying,  

“From ninth grade through twelfth grade we have classes- introduction to law, constitutional law, policing class- and to be able to have a courtroom is going to make an incredible difference in the experience that our students are going to get. I think it will generate an immense amount of excitement and enthusiasm for our law program.” 

Tonique Bynoe, a junior student at Dewey said, “Being an active member of the mock trial team helped prepare me for what a career in law would look like. The addition of our very own courtroom would provide law students with new experiences of seeing what it’s like to move around in the courtroom and make us feel more comfortable in the setting.” 

The Dewey courtroom is in the design phase and the Lincoln courtroom is slated to begin construction in early May, according to Treyger’s office.