Middle School Mock Trial Opportunity

Middle School Mock Trial Opportunity

It’s never too early to learn the law!


In 2013 the Nashoba Regional Middle School Mock Trial Program was established for middle school students in grades 6 - 8. The program is open to students who attend the Hale, Florence Sawyer and Luther Burbank Middle Schools. This year we will meet at the HALE SCHOOL LIBRARY in Stow. The program is designed to help middle school students learn more about the law, court procedures and our legal system, and give them an opportunity to sharpen their analytical, listening and speaking skills. The team consists of 10 - 14 legally savvy students, a lawyer, and teacher coach.  Students prepare a hypothetical case and then test their skills as lawyers and witnesses in a simulated courtroom competition. The NRSD Middle School Mock Trial team competition is held at the Ayer Courthouse in Ayer, Massachusetts the second week in May.

This year the team will also be participating in an extension activity called Discovering the Bill of Rights (DBR) at the Moakley U.S. Courthouse on January 16th from 9:30 to 11:45.

Discovering the Bill of Rights (DBR) draws middle school students into the midst of the judicial process. In real courtrooms, students learn about the Bill of Rights and the appellate process, then develop and present appellate arguments based on landmark Supreme Court cases before lawyers presiding as judges. This program is in collaboration with the Discovering Justice Program.

This ninety-minute field trip to the Moakley U.S. Courthouse challenges students to think critically, advocate for their “client,” and consider opposing arguments. Through DBR, students learn how the protections in the Bill of Rights can be applied to real-life situations.


CASE OVERVIEW: This case established a new standard for student speech in public schools. Two siblings, John and Mary Beth Tinker, and their friend Christopher Eckhardt wore black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War. The Tinkers and Eckhardt were suspended for violating a school policy that banned wearing black armbands. Alleging that their First Amendment rights had been violated, the students (through their parents) filed suit in federal court, eventually appealing their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The team’s teacher coach is Laura Dwyer ldwyer@nrsd.net, and the lawyer-coach is Steve Sacks. Students will be expected to participate in all practice meetings, attend the Discovering Justice Extension activity, and the final Mock Trial May 17th at the Ayer Courthouse. Students will also have the exciting opportunity to collaborate with law students from the Maine School of Law who will visit in January during their school break to share their wealth of expertise.

A synopsis of this year’s Mock Trial case is below:

Comm. v. Sazer Larson – Returning Iraqi war vet claims that symptoms relating to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder caused a hallucination that brought him back to the reality of war when he actually pulled the trigger and killed an old high-school nemesis during a July 4th fireworks celebration. Was this first-degree murder or an act caused by insanity or diminished capacity?

Please review this synopsis with your student(s) carefully as it might not be appropriate for all students.

Click on the below REGISTER SYMBOL to register your student for MOCK TRIAL!