High school students will ‘Occupy the Courtroom’ for state Mock Trial Competition

Contact: Lisa Eschleman, Executive Director, Ohio Center for Law-Related Education, LEschleman@oclre.org; 614-485-3500

COLUMBUS (Mar. 3, 2014) -
#OccupytheField has popped up in many Ohio teenagers’ social media posts lately. What are they talking about? Mock Trial, of course.
Beginning Thursday, March 6, approximately 300 high school students representing 30 schools from across Ohio will descend on Columbus to vie for the title of state champions of the 31st Annual Ohio Mock Trial Competition. The 2014 case involves fictitious Philips High School, which agrees to license naming rights of its field to a large corporation. Students "occupy the field" to protest this action and the school district responds by installing security cameras and searching students’ lockers. Students claim the school district has violated their First and Fourth Amendment rights.
Mock trial teams from the following high schools have advanced from district and regional competitions to compete at the state level: Archbishop Hoban (Summit County); Ashland High School (Ashland County); Centerville High School (Montgomery County); Danville High School (Knox County); Georgetown High School (Brown County); Gilmour Academy (Cuyahoga County); Indian Hill High School (Hamilton County); Oak Hills High School (Hamilton County); Orange High School (Cuyahoga County); Pickerington Central High School (Fairfield County); Reading High School (Hamilton County); Solon High School (Cuyahoga County); Springfield High School (Clark County); St. Vincent-St. Mary High School (Summit County); St. Xavier High School (Hamilton County); Strongsville High School (Cuyahoga County); Summit Country Day School (Hamilton County); Sylvania Southview High School (Lucas County); Tuscarawas Central Catholic High School (Tuscarawas County); and Westerville North High School (Franklin County). The home-school team, Olivia Davidson Washington Mock Trial Club (Athens County), also advanced to the state competition.
Ohio Mock Trial is a program of the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (the Center) and is Ohio’s largest high school academic competition. More than 3,500 students participate each year, and approximately 1,000 legal professionals volunteer to serve as judges and team advisors. Each year, the Center writes an original case based on a relevant constitutional issue. Students must prepare both prosecution and defense cases. Mock Trial is designed to educate students about their rights as citizens and to help them develop critical thinking, reading, writing, public speaking and listening skills.
The three-day state competition will culminate with a final round, to be held at the Statehouse on Saturday, March 8. The championship team will represent Ohio at the National High School Mock Trial Championship May 8-10, in Madison, Wisconsin.
The Ohio Center for Law-Related Education is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization whose goal is to improve society by developing citizens empowered with an understanding of our democratic system. The Supreme Court of Ohio, Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Ohio State Bar Association and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation sponsor the Center. The Ohio Mock Trial program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Ohio State Bar Foundation. For more information about the Center, please call (877) 485-3510 or visit www.oclre.org.



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