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Students Face Peer Jury for Illicit Drug, Alcohol Offenses

Posted on October 8, 2002 by in Hometown, News, Oregon

Medford Mail Tribune – October 8, 2002

Teens in Ashland, Ore., are trying out a new alcohol and other drug policy that features high-school students as judge and jury.

The new court was used for the first time with a sophomore girl who was stopped by Ashland police for drunk driving. The girl admitted to drinking two shots of vodka at a friend’s house before attending a school football game.

For her punishment, the student court ordered the 16-year-old to meet with the police department’s youth diversion officer, undergo addiction treatment, write an essay on the Southern Oregon Drug Awareness program, and attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

“It will be interesting to see what the school thinks about this — whether it is strict enough,” said Jan Janssen, the youth diversion officer for the Ashland police.

Under the policy, students and parents can decide to have the case heard before a school administrator or the peer jury. Previously, the school administrator determined a student’s punishment.

Krystl Tonkin, a junior, said a jury of peers is “a much better alternative” than expelling students.