Bothell Youth Court was started through the joint efforts of Bothell Municipal Court Michelle K. Gehlsen, University of Washington Bothell students, and Professor Camille Walsh (IAS). A genuine community and university partnership from the beginning, Bothell Youth Court draws on the knowledge of multiple stakeholders in the community to create an unforgettable experience in citizenship and restorative justice for the participants.
Youth Court Task Force, BIS 498B, is a class that is offered fall, winter and spring quarter at University of Washington Bothell (UWB). This class offers a unique opportunity for UWB students to participate in the youth court and mentor nearby high school students. The student research team from winter 2012 studied traffic deaths, restorative justice, juvenile justice and youth courts nationwide, while the team research memos came together as a group-generated executive summary and a 25-minute Prezi presentation that was presented to city leaders from the police and city council. This effort resulted in the approval of the council members to start a Youth Court for the city of Bothell.
The student training team in fall 2012 led trainings for the youth members of the court on various key aspects of their roles as youth judges, attorneys and jury members, from advocacy, investigation and preparation, procedures and client support to applying restorative justice. Youth court members are currently drawn from Bothell High School and Secondary Academy for Success.
In spring 2012, the Bothell Youth Court Advisory Board met for the first time and began to plan the shape of the youth court. The members of the advisory board are attorneys, city leaders, local police officials, high school principals, high school and college students, and community members. Over the summer and fall the board crafted the Policies and Procedures for the Youth Court and discussed key questions of design and structure.