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Middle School Students Bring “Revolution” to the Courtroom

OCLRE middle school mock trials are crafted from literature taught in middle school classrooms. This year’s case is based on Ester Forbes’s Newberry Award winning book, Johnny Tremain. Johnny is a revolutionary-era teenager who decides to support the cause for independence from Britain by allegedly helping the Boston Observer spread anti-British sentiment. Johnny is arrested and charged with treason. He argues for his innocence, citing his natural rights.

Teams from the following schools will participate in the State Showcase: Bethany School (Hamilton County); Blendon Middle School (Franklin County); Chagrin Falls Intermediate School (Cuyahoga County); Columbus City Prep School for Girls (Franklin County); Columbus Collegiate Academy (Franklin County); Columbus Gifted Academy (Franklin County); Danville Middle School (Knox County); Dominion Middle School (Franklin County); Garfield Middle School (Cuyahoga County); Genoa Middle School (Franklin County); Harding Middle School (Cuyahoga County); Hastings Middle School (Franklin County); Heath Middle School (Licking County); Heritage Middle School (Franklin County); Independence Middle School (Cuyahoga County); Indianola Informal K-8 School (Franklin County); Jackson Memorial Middle School (Stark County); Kenneth Clement Boys Leadership Academy (Cuyahoga County); Menlo Park Academy (Cuyahoga County); Olivia Davidson Washington Home School (Athens County); Perrysburg Jr. High School (Wood County); Ridgeview Middle School (Franklin County); Shalom Christian Academy (Delaware County); Sherwood Middle School (Franklin County); St. Hilary School (Summit County); Trellis Academy (Knox County); Village Academy (Delaware County); Walnut Hills Middle School (Hamilton County); Walnut Springs Middle School (Franklin County); Woodward Park Middle School (Franklin County); and Zane Trace Middle School (Ross County). 

Students spend months, with help from teachers and attorneys, learning about the legal system and preparing for trial. Through this process, they build key reading, research, writing, and public speaking skills. Each team participates in two trials, arguing both prosecution and defense against opposing teams. Attorneys and judges serve as Showcase judges, with students earning points for the strength of their arguments, demonstrating professional demeanor, oratory skills, and an understanding of trial technique and procedure. 

OCLRE partners with teachers to engage students in learning about government, citizenship, and the law. OCLRE is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization whose goal is to improve society by developing citizens empowered with an understanding of our democratic system. OCLRE is sponsored by the Supreme Court of Ohio, Ohio Attorney General, Ohio State Bar Association and American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation. Middle School Mock Trial is an original program created by OCLRE and is funded in part by the Ohio State Bar Foundation. For more information on OCLRE, please call 877-485-3510 or visit

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