Pennsylvania courts launch online toolkit to help students learn about state judicial system

This Week in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Are your kids getting a good civics education?

Sensing the answer is no, the Pennsylvania courts produced a series of videos and interactive online activities to enhance the offerings of schools across Pa. You also might recognize some voices in those videos.

The videos are just one of many examples of how Pa. courts are working to improve kids’ working knowledge of civics and government.

“The courts tend to be fairly mysterious to them and if you don’t understand the courts and if you don’t understand your rights you really stand to lose rights and access to the courts,” John Jones of the Supreme Court Commission on Judicial Independence said.

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The digital toolkit is free to schools and offers different videos of different ages. There are also 3D tours of courtrooms and even games for younger students. But teaching civics is not child’s play and has been woefully lacking Jones says. “I think teachers need tools and I think that’s what this tool kit does,” Jones said.

He also hopes along with the civics there’s civility which is also sorely lacking. “We’re a road rage society today and I’m really concerned about that,” Jones said. “Tools like this help with civility. It’s not a lost cause and maybe I’m an optimist about it but I think we can do better than we’ve been and I think the overhang of COVID hasn’t helped that either.”

Valerie Pritchett and I were honored to be asked to voice those videos. You can find a link to the digital tool kit here.

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