When I was in year 9 at high school my entire year level got sent on city experience. This was a whole week where we all go to the city every day and do different activities as well as just exploring on your free time.. It was a great week and heaps of fun, it was intended to teach us the way around the city and make us more independent. I think it just meant that most of us had junk food for breakfast and lunch and dinner as we weren’t around our parents or stuck at school. But one thing I did find about the experience, which was really troubling and odd for me, was that the school decided to take us to the Magistrates Court.
This was my first experience with legal services and how many blue-collar crime situations are dealt with in Australia. It was really interesting to firstly know that anyone can walk in and watch any case including groups of school children. All you had to do was nod at the Magistrate when you enter the courtroom and you can stay for the proceedings. Many people in my class chose to go to the room with the live feed from jail but my friends and I opted to go off by ourselves. We went in to a random court room and whilst there I experienced one of the most shocking and disturbing things that has happened to me.
I will not disclose what the case was about, but I will just say that it was a very intense case dealing with family lawyer Gold Coast, know more at http://wiltshirefamilylaw.com.au/. The mother did her testimony all the while she kept looking at us and crying and this was extremely difficult to be part of. Then we realised stepfather being accused of the crimes was there and this was disturbing as I did not want to be in a room with someone who would do that. Although I did not know if the person being accused did the crime or not, I was genuinely upset about the fact our school sent us here.
I understand they wanted us to see how the legal system works and that we were young adults that could deal with some full on things, but I really did not want to be put in that situation without really having the choice. I discussed this with other people who had been sent there before for education, but they were all social work students and knew that they would be dealing with these cases very often in life. Whereas I was just a kid, who still to this day does not want to work in such a field so I really think that high schools should reconsider sending kids to the Magistrates Court, or at least warn them what they may hear and get someone to debrief after.