As part of the Project LEAD curriculum, 6th grade students from Belle Chasse Middle School were given the opportunity to ask a panel of local officials questions about the criminal justice system. The objective was to teach students what happens when someone decides to break the law and is incarcerated.
District Attorney, Charles Ballay welcomed the students and explained what his office does after a crime is committed. In his words, “everyone on the panel today work as a team and it takes hard work, teamwork, and dedication to bring a criminal to justice.”
Sheriff Jerry Turlich, Clerk of Court Kim Turlich Vaughan, and Detective Holly Hardin all spoke about their particular job duties and responsibilities.
Inmate/Trustee Sherman Esteen, escorted by Deputy Pamela Bently, spoke to the students about his 18+ years behind bars. He explained that being a follower, succumbing to peer pressure, and making poor decisions led him to where he is today. At the end of the presentation, students were allowed to ask questions. The group was very attentive and extremely inquisitive.
The District Attorney’s Office contends that actively involving students in the learning process, as Project LEAD does, increases students’ understanding of the law and society and this increase in understanding fosters respect for the law and its principles.