April 2, 2004 – Teams from the territory's public and private elementary schools will vie for top honors on Monday in the 2nd annual Juvenile Rights Bowl, an academic competition sponsored by the Territorial Public Defender's Office in partnership with the Law Enforcement Planning Commission and the Education Department.
District events will get under way at 3 p.m. at Charlotte Amalie High School on St. Thomas and Education Complex on St. Croix. The teams will be asked questions about V.I. history, geography, civics and their legal rights as juveniles.
The top two teams from each district will move on to the finals set for Wednesday at Palms Court Harbourview Hotel on St. Thomas. That competition is to begin at 10 a.m., with an awards luncheon to follow.
Separate district bowls were held in early March for middle/junior high and high schools. The top two teams from each of those events also will participate in Wednesday's final rounds.
An example of a question for the competition might be "Who was the first elected governor, and who was the last appointed?" Theron Richards, an investigator/counselor with the Public Defender's Office on St. Croix, said. (For the answer, see the end of this article.)
The public is invited to attend both the Monday and Wednesday events.
Since it's the job of the Public Defender's Office to represent youths when they land in the justice system, the program lets them know about their rights, should they be arrested. Richards said they're told about what takes place in a courtroom, the circumstances under which they can be tried as an adult, and other aspects of criminal justice procedures.
This is the second year that the Public Defender's Office has presented the competition as part of its youth outreach program. Richards said the program's main goal is deterrence, and that the bowl is a way of reaching youths before they get into trouble with the law. "It's pitiful when you have to meet them at the courtroom door," he said.
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