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To be annoyed with school? Poss trigger warning.

(108 Posts)
AntheaBelveden Thu 17-Nov-16 16:41:39

DD1 is 16, in her first year of sixth form. One of her A levels is law.

Her law teacher took the class to court today so they could see a case being tried.

The case turned out to be one of child sexual abuse.

DD1 has come home in floods of tears as the evidence they heard was very graphic and included testimony from one of the victims (it's a historical case, so the victims are now adults).

DD got very upset in the court, as did others from their class and asked the teacher if they could leave.

The teacher told them they could leave " if they really had to" but it may affect their marks at the end of the year.

AIBU to think they should have been allowed to leave?

ballsdeep Thu 17-Nov-16 16:44:20

If she wants a career in law then I guess she needs to get used to awful crimes been explicitly described. It's not nice and I'm surprised a whole class was allowed in to see such a sensitive case.

krustykittens Thu 17-Nov-16 16:45:16

Tricky. They are going to come across distressing cases during the course of their career and I seriously doubt a law firm would let them pick and choose what they wanted to work on. Perhaps the school is simply trying to reflect the real world? However, I would have thought this would have been the kind of educational experience offered by a law degree - it seems a bit full on at sixth form, when they may not go onto working in the law. Really, I think the school should have picked a less distressing case.

AndShesGone Thu 17-Nov-16 16:45:30

They were allowed confused

The teacher said it may affect their marks, that's all. It's not a threat, it's a description - if they can't answer a question about procedure then it might affect their marks.

I'd have said it was fine but their responsibility to make sure they knew what happened so they could answer exam questions about it.

WindPowerRanger Thu 17-Nov-16 16:46:33

They should have been forewarned about what they might see. I would have expected a bit of general class discussion beforehand and for the teacher to have had a chat with the ushers or front desk at court first then alerted the kids to the subject-matter.

And as for affecting their final marks, why on earth should it do that?

Thatwaslulu Thu 17-Nov-16 16:46:42

It may sound harsh (and I really don't mean to be) but surely if the students can't cope with hearing evidence how will they be able to cope with the prep and presentation of a case in their chosen careers? While I agree those who can't cope should be able to quietly leave, they would need to seriously consider if it is the profession for them. As part of the syllabus field trips are important so students can understand the way a court works and the processes so they can then use this learning for their studies.

So no, you are not being unreasonable, but then neither was the teacher in my opinion.

mumonashoestring Thu 17-Nov-16 16:47:33

I can understand the whole 'will need to get used to it' argument but that should come after a considerable amount of training and preparation, not by being chucked in at the deep end before she's even started undergraduate studies. I'd consider it a serious error of judgement on the teacher's part.

AntheaBelveden Thu 17-Nov-16 16:47:40

She doesn't know if she wants a career in law (I suspect probably not now) but I can't help but feel that this case was inappropriate for 16 year olds.

They could have started them off with magistrates court and some driving offences before ramping it up to crown court.

MunchMunch Thu 17-Nov-16 16:48:29

Hmmm, it's obviously not the ideal first case to have to listen to but sadly this goes on and if your dd does go into law will probably come across these cases and no matter how hard they are someone has to listen to the details. It is a lot for a 16 year old though.

I hope she can put what she heard out of her mind and try and leave this aspect of her A levels at college. sad

Skittlesss Thu 17-Nov-16 16:49:35

The teacher probably didn't know what the case would be. At court they are just listed by the name of the Defendant, so they wouldn't have known what they were going to see. I assume it wasn't a pre planned visit with the Court and that they'd just turned up as is allowed.

OlennasWimple Thu 17-Nov-16 16:50:02

I agree that there are better cases to observe that would also let them see the processes in their text books in action. And that if this really was the only case that they could go to, some preparatory work would have been in order.

Not everyone taking Law A level wants to become a lawyer

FarelyKnuts Thu 17-Nov-16 16:51:14

I'd be more upset about a bunch of students being present and using the trial as a live learning tool if I was the victim/s in the case! Especially if they were visibly upset and crying throughout. sad

AntheaBelveden Thu 17-Nov-16 16:51:54

mumona exactly, I understand that law students need to study this aspect of the law but as degree students, not four months into an A level.

dybil Thu 17-Nov-16 16:51:56

I don't actually think the "well they'll have to get used to it" argument holds much sway. The majority of lawyers don't practice criminal law, and some might specifically avoid it because they can't deal with upsetting cases.

admission Thu 17-Nov-16 16:52:03

This should have been thoroughly checked out before they went to the court that it was something that was likely to be appropriate. Appreciate that this is not that easy but the teacher showed poor judgement in not appreciating that a child protection case was likely to be upsetting. If there was more than one case going on they should have moved to a more appropriate case like burglary.
All school trips should be planned out correctly. Many schools use an electronic system called EVOLVE and I would be tempted to ask the school what precautions were put in place for this trip to ensure that there was appropriate safeguarding and that the case they were observing was appropriate. The Courts work on a forward listing procedure so they should have been able to give some indication of what cases the pupils were likely to see.
The idea that going out of the court room could lead to their marks being affected is just plain wrong in my opinion and again shows remarkably poor judgement by the teacher.

Skittlesss Thu 17-Nov-16 16:53:08

Farely - the Victims in these cases are usually on video link and unable to see much of the court room so that wouldn't have been a problem.

I say usually though as sometimes the victim chooses to give evidence on the stand either with a screen or without.

AntheaBelveden Thu 17-Nov-16 16:54:24

Farely I agree, giving evidence must have been excruciating for the victims without feeling like a zoo exhibit.

DD said that she did manage to keep it together in the court for exactly this reason.

JellyBelli Thu 17-Nov-16 16:55:06

I would have concerns about a teacher that did this. Lawyers recieve training before dealing with these types of case. And they are not 17 years old.

DoNotBlameMeIVotedRemain Thu 17-Nov-16 16:55:58

Was there not an alternative case being heard at the court centre that they could have gone to watch? Criminal law is a very small amount of the training that a lawyer has so not enjoying this type of work should not influence her decision about whether to become a lawyer.

IminaPickle Thu 17-Nov-16 16:58:56

Utterly inappropriate! Not just for the students but for the participants in the court case. And yes, I'd seriously question the teachers judgement.

myfavouritecolourispurple Thu 17-Nov-16 17:03:29

If she wants a career in law then I guess she needs to get used to awful crimes been explicitly described

Utter rubbish. I am a lawyer - a minority of lawyers are criminal lawyers and still fewer will deal with cases of this kind. I have NEVER had to do anything distressing. I deal with issues such as consumer law, advertising law, data protection and the like. I did a work placement at the CPS for 10 weeks and didn't come across anything like this.

I would be making a complaint to the teacher - no problem in attending a court hearing, but for goodness sake, make it shoplifting or something similar. I very much hope that it will not affect their grades if they did not want to stay.

YellowPrimula Thu 17-Nov-16 17:03:51

A level law students are no more likely to end up as lawyers than maths students are to be mathematicians . Lawy students at undergraduate level would not be required to do this, law is about so much more than court procedure and criminal cases , far more lawyers are corporate commercial,property or employment lawyers than criminal.
At the very least the teacher should have checked to make sure none of the students involved would have issues in their background which would make this inappropriate .

Verbena37 Thu 17-Nov-16 17:07:23

She is doing A Level Law......that doesn't mean she wants to be a lawyer.
At 16, in the eyes of the law, she is still a child herself until she is 18. Children in a village pantomime need parental permission to act on stage and a chaperone to stay with them at all times......yet they can go into a courtroom and hear a case that if it were a movie, would probably be rated an 18 and again, the DD wouldn't be allowed into....unless she lied about her DOB.

Those types of cases are extremely hard for a trained lawyer of many years to hear so for 16 yr old school kids, I think it's a bit extreme. It's not exactly tax fraud or benefit dodging. Child abuse is a bit tough to take them to straight away when they are still children!

Mummyoflittledragon Thu 17-Nov-16 17:07:40

I'd be pretty upset as a parent that the teacher deemed this appropriate. Some of the students will only be 16. I think it was pretty disrespectful to the victim as well.

"If she goes into law"

What a load of codswallop. She might want to be a divorce lawyer or conveyancing or sport.

No way should that be forced upon them, I'd be making a complaint.

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