Pennington students get to observe trials, and learn about legal process
Posted on 11/01/2019
Pennington eighth grade students in front of Prince William CourthouseOn October 22, 45 eighth-graders from Pennington Traditional School sat quietly in the Manassas Circuit Court and General District Court observing the legal system in action. Guided by their teacher Erin Merrill, U.S. history and civics teacher, and social studies department chair at Pennington, their civics lessons came to life as the students witnessed a docket of plea deals for felonies made in the Circuit Court room.

"It gave us a good opportunity to see how the legal process works in the United States. I've read a lot about court cases, so I was happy to see it live," said student Alex Smith.

The trip was facilitated by a partnership with the Prince William Bar Association, which includes an invitation for each middle school in PWCS to bring students to the courthouse for a day. Participating students observe arraignments, plea deals, minor bench trials for traffic violations, or small lawsuits in person.

“The students spoke to several Commonwealth's Attorneys as well as Judge Tracy Hudson about what they saw during their visit and asked questions about careers in law and law enforcement,” shared Merrill.

Student Sehar Quresh said, "The field trip was very interesting, watching cases before your own eyes. I would recommend other students to go on the field trip because it's very educational."