On Wednesdays, Rudsdale High School students delve into a complicated subject: the law. The class is part of Fresh Lifelines for Youth’s (FLY) Law Program, which aims to help students better understand criminal law and how it might apply to them in the real world.
In class, students receive mentorship from FLY staff and volunteer teachers, who use skits, role playing and discussion to guide students through precarious scenarios involving the law. They do skits of high schoolers out partying for a night that goes awry, and break down the crimes committed and the repercussions of those actions. Students conduct a mock trial to better understand the roles that prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges play in the courts. On top of better understanding the law, the class discusses problem solving techniques that the students can use to combat peer pressure or de-escalate dangerous situations in their own lives.
FLY’s law education program is funded by a mix of government grants and private donations and currently operates in over 20 cities around the Bay Area. In Oakland, the program offers a class at Rudsdale High School and four other Oakland high schools—Bridge Academy, Community Day School, Ralph J. Bunche Academy, and Street Academy—which are small, alternative high schools for students who are at risk of not graduating from a comprehensive high school. Bridge Academy also serves students who are transitioning out of juvenile detention.
Watch the video above to get a first-hand glimpse into one of FLY’s Law Program classrooms at Rudsdale High.