In Draguignan, college students discover the legal system in a fictitious trial on cyberbullying

“MMr. Villard, after deliberation, you are found guilty of all the charges against you. In repression, you are sentenced to a one-year suspended prison sentence”announces the president of the criminal court, after a hearing of more than forty minutes.

Except that the magistrates, the defendants, the victim, the prosecutor and the witnesses are all fourth-grade students from the Ferrié college in Draguignan.

Since the beginning of 2021, the students have worked under the aegis of their history-geography and literature teachers to prepare this fictitious trial transcribing all the codes of a hearing and addressing the issue of cyberbullying.

Fourth-grade students from Ferrier College donned the robes of lawyers and magistrates in a mock trial. What to have stage fright. Photo Philippe Arnassan.
Some attend as spectators at the trial Photo Philippe Arnassan.

Involve college students

To arrive at this verdict, each of the students had to play their part. An original idea carried by the principal of the establishment, Danièle Levasseur and the professor of letters, Wahiba Fartoukh.

“I was able to meet, a little before 2019, Madame Levasseur who was a jury member”, says Stéphanie Pisu, clerk of the assize court of the Draguignan court. “While discussing it, we thought it would be interesting to introduce this world to middle school students by involving them as much as possible.

“I was an assize juror at the end of 2021 and for three weeks, the judicial process absolutely fascinated me.“, partage Wahiba Fartoukh. “We couldn’t do anything because of the Covid, but this time it was the right one.”

To do this, the college students were able to build this fictional trial step by step, throughout the school year. “The students were able to attend a correctional hearing at the end of the year”, continues the teacher. “They were then able to meet all the actors present for the occasion: the judges, the prosecutor, the clerk and the bailiff.adds Stephanie Pisu.

Magistrates, prosecutors and judges take their places Photo Philippe Arnassan.
Everyone played their role after practicing. Photo Philippe Arnassan.

As close as possible to reality

At the beginning of 2022, the college students were able to familiarize themselves with the functioning of the judicial system with the help of their history and geography teacher, Laurent Bruyère.

“At the same time we defined the substance of the case of the trial that was going to be played: cyberbullying”, explains the professor. “Then it was the writing of the lines so that it is as close as possible to reality.

For this, the college students were able to wear the dresses that corresponded to their role. Like a sense of reality. “We really hope to be able to create vocations with this kind of partnership”concludes Stephanie Pisu.

Witnesses and suspects of a day at the stand. Photo Philippe Arnassan.

Familiar faces to raise awareness of cyberbullying

“In addition to making them aware of the law and the functioning of the judicial system, we wanted this exercise to be as educational as possible”explains the professor of letters Wahiba Fartoukh.

A film as a teaching aid

“Already, in the choice of subject; with the question of cyberbullying. With mobile phones and social networks, our students can be confronted with this problem”she continues. “It also allowed them to practice role-playing and work on their diction and speech.”

So that the educational investment is exploited at best, the teaching staff wanted to immortalize this audience by filming it.

“I had already been able to work with the Mode 83 association, so it was very easy”, she says. “What has been filmed will make it possible to create a video clip, which can serve as an educational support, both on the judicial system and on cyberbullying.”

A tool that will allow students to better grasp the case, given that the protagonists of the video will be familiar faces. The hearing is open.

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