Youth Court

SBCUSD Youth Court
San Bernardino Restorative Youth Court

The San Bernardino Restorative Youth Court (SBRYC) is the first program of its kind in the city of San Bernardino. SBRYC is a community response to student misconduct. Its primary aim is to hold the offender (known as the respondent) accountable for his/her actions within a positive social network of support. The youth court format we have adopted is the adult judge model. Put simply, the court is facilitated by an adult judge and driven by student jurors, clerks and bailiffs. Positive peer pressure is leveraged to increase the respondent's awareness of the impact his/her actions have had on the community. The heart and soul of SBRYC is about kids helping kids and fostering positive youth identity.

Currently, SBRYC meets approximately once a week in the Green Room at our Adult Education building from 4-7. Up to three cases are scheduled each court date and take 45 minutes to 1 hour to adjudicate. Our judge volunteers are District Attorneys, Public Defenders, Private Attorneys and Law Enforcement officials. Our students are volunteers from all of our high schools and previous respondents.

Our respondents are primarily from expulsion recommendations but also may be referred by a school site. Respondents who successfully complete their Youth Court Plan of Rehabilitation will receive a recommendation to terminate their expulsion. Respondents may not have previous expulsions or criminal record.

The jurors, under the direction of the judge, question the respondent about their actions. The questions are restorative in nature and designed to show the respondents the impact of their wrong doing. From the answers, the jury deliberates and develops a disposition plan to help the respondent be accountable for their actions, make amends and reintegrate. The respondent meets with a Youth Court official to review the disposition/rehabilitation plan.

The respondent is closely monitored by a Hearing Panel Case Manager. They will meet with them at their school site and at Youth Services to assist and ensure the plan of rehabilitation is successfully completed and to monitor school reintegration.

Youth Court brings a variety of opportunities to students- both respondents and volunteers. It gives them a sense of community, leadership skills and learning opportunities.

The San Bernardino Restorative Youth Court:

  • Provides an alternative to suspension, expulsion, and police citation.
  • Builds on a student's strengths and increases student competency.
  • Gives students an opportunity for community service, leadership and career development through a new Student Leadership Academy.
  • Creates for students an awareness of the impact their actions have on others in their school and community.
  • Utilizes district and community resources to build student capacity rather than punishment.

What is a Youth Court?

Youth courts (also called teen, peer, and student courts) are programs in which youth sentence their peers for minor delinquent and status offenses and other problem behaviors.

History of Youth Courts

  • According to the National Youth Court Database, in 1994 there were only 78 youth court programs in operation; as of March, 2010, there were over 1,050 youth court programs in operation in 49 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Conflicting accounts in the literature create challenges to tracing the exact beginnings of youth court programs. One of the earliest known programs still in operation is the Naperville Youth Jury in Naperville, Illinois. Naperville's program started in June of 1972. There are also anecdotal reports of a youth court that began operating in Horseheads, NY in 1968.
  • Agencies operating and administering youth court programs include juvenile courts, juvenile probation departments, law enforcement, private nonprofit organizations, and schools.
  • Approximately 42% of youth court programs in operation are juvenile justice system-based programs.
  • Approximately 22% of youth court programs are community-based and are incorporated as, or operated by, private nonprofit organizations.
  • Approximately 36% of youth court programs are school-based.
  • SBRYC is unique as it is a school district based youth court.

Youth Court Functions

The primary function of most youth court programs is to determine a fair and restorative sentence or disposition for the youth respondent to help them understand the impact their actions may have had to repair any harm.

Youth Court Program Models

The four primary youth court program models are the Adult Judge, Youth Judge, Peer Jury, and Youth Tribunal Models.

  • The Adult Judge Model is used by approximately 53% of youth courts.
  • The Youth Judge Model is used by approximately 18% of youth courts.
  • The Peer Jury Model is used by approximately 31% of youth courts.
  • The Youth Tribunal Model is used by approximately 10% of youth courts.
SBCYRC uses the Peer Jury Model.
State Youth/Teen Court Associations
National Association of Youth Courts (NYAC) has record of Youth/Teen Court Associations in 18 states.
For more information of YC nationwide, go to:


Mikki Cichocki
Youth Court Program Specialist

Elba Alvarez
Bil Sec. I

Christy Domenack
Bil Clerk I

Dr. Henry Yzaguirre
Hearing Panel Member/
Youth Court Coordinator

Dr. Robert Moss
Hearing Panel Member/
Youth Court Coordinator

Ph: (909) 880-6812
Fax: (909) 473-8902

777 North F Street, San Bernardino, CA 92410 | Phone: (909) 381-1100 | Fax:

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