Youth Court Option for Student Discipline at Yarmouth High School

School Committee policies, as well as student handbooks, provide guidance to administrators who must determine appropriate interventions and consequences for infractions of school rules and policies. This policy addresses an alternative to the consequences and interventions delineated in both School Committee policies listed below and student handbooks. At the discretion of school administrators and following the guidance provided here, students may be referred to Youth Court in addition to or as an alternative to prescribed interventions and consequences.

A. Youth Court is a true youth-run court. Students from Yarmouth High School and other area high schools volunteer to run cooperatively the operations of the court. These volunteers complete a comprehensive training program prior to participating in an actual hearing.

B. Youth Court programs are designed to help youth who have committed school and/or legal offenses through early intervention and education. The Youth Court program holds youth accountable for negative behavior while at the same time teaches youthful offenders to respect themselves along with the individuals, families, property, school and community impacted by their behavior.

C. The purpose of the court is not to make a judgment of guilt or innocence. For the offender, the option of participating in Youth Court is voluntary and students must have admitted wrongdoing prior to the referral process. The Youth Court reviews the summary of facts from the referring high school, interviews and listens to statements made by the offender, hears from possible victims and others affected by the offense, deliberates in the presence of the offender and victim(s), and makes a judgment regarding the steps the offender needs to make to repair the harm done. 

D. The Yarmouth High School administration may consider utilizing different types of interventions or multiple interventions simultaneously to deal with student misconduct. On the occasions where the misconduct involves an existing school rule and/or district policy, administrators will have the option of:

  1. Independently using the rule and/or policy’s prescribed administrative consequences (i.e., detention or suspension)

  2. Recommending a Youth Court referral as an alternative to administrative consequences (e.g., eliminate suspension in exchange for participation and completion of Youth Court program)

  3. Using administrative consequences in conjunction with a Youth Court referral (e.g., reduced suspension and/or Saturday Detention in addition to participation and completion of Youth Court program)

E. Once Yarmouth High School refers a case to Youth Court, Yarmouth High School is obliged to accept the recommendations of the Youth Court, even if the recommendations conflict with existing school policy. The Youth Court recommendation will govern. If the Youth Court informs the referring high school that the offending student was not successful in participating in the hearing and/or fulfilling the Youth Court’s judgment, the school reserves the right to apply the original, proscribed administrative consequences.

F. Behavior that will or will not qualify for consideration for Youth Court:

Will qualify for consideration of Youth Court strategies used either as alternatives to or in conjunction with administrative consequences (D-2 and D-3 above):

Will not qualify for consideration of Youth Court strategies. This behavior will qualify only for administrative consequences (D-1 above):

  1. Excessive Routine Offenses (e.g. tardiness, class, cuts, leaving school, etc.)

  2. Vandalism

  3. Bullying/Harassment

  4. Theft

  5. Bus Incident

  6. Tobacco Use

  7. Fighting

  8. Violent Threats

  9. Inappropriate Language

  10. Disruptive Behavior

  11. Malicious Technology Violation

  12. Academic Honesty Violation

  13. Possession/Use/Purchase of Drugs/Alcohol

  14. Extracurricular Code Violations, Third and Subsequent Offenses

  15. Other serious offenses not included in existing administrative rules or policies 

  1. Possession or Use of Firearm and/or Other Deadly Weapon on School Grounds

  2. Trafficking/Sale of a Scheduled Drug on School Grounds

  3. Gross Bodily Injury/Aggravated Assault

  4. Minor Routine Offenses (e.g. limited tardiness, class cuts, leaving school, etc.)

  5. Extracurricular Code Violations, First and Second Offenses

Cross Reference: JEA – Compulsory Attendance Ages
JH – Student Attendance/Absences
JH-R Unexcused Absences
JHB Truancy
JICC Student Conduct on School Buses
JICC-R Student Conduct on School Buses Admin. Procedure
JICH Drug-Free Schools: Chemical Use Student Policy Gr K-12
JICH-R Drug-Free Schools: Chemical Use Student Procedure
JICIA Weapons, Violence and School Safety
JICK Bullying
JICL Plagiarism
JJ-R Extracurricular Code of Conduct
JK Student Discipline
JKB Detention of Students
JKB-R Detention of Students Administrative Procedure
JKD Suspension of Students
SC Approved: December 13, 2012