REED CITY — The tale of Jack and the Beanstalk is a tale of an innocent boy who tried to save his family’s farm by trading a cow for some magic beans.

In planting the beans, Jack is taken to a castle in the clouds, home to a giant who wants to grind the boy’s bones for bread.

But G.T. Norman third-graders got to tell a different side of the story in their mock trial of Jolly Giant v. Jack Bean.

The case told by each of Kelly Stearns’, Dawn Hilliard’s, Sue Rice’s and Kayli Eastling’s third-grade classes allowed the audience to hear the side of the giant on Friday, June 14, who was accusing Jack of stealing their chicken and trespassing on their property.

While each class got their chance to play a part in the trial, whether it judge, jury member, bailiff or Jack, the scripted cases did not all end the same.

Seated with Osceola Probate Judge Tyler Thompson, one student from each class got to make their own sentencing for Jack. For example; Taylor Gerbracht sentenced her classmate Tyson Benedict, who played Jack Bean in Stearns’ classes mock trial, five years in prison after the jury found him guilty, while others were more lenient in giving him a year in prison or a fine to pay.

“I thought her sentencing was a little harsh,‘ said Thompson after the first trial of the day had finished.

Once the students had a chance to be a part of the court system, the students had the chance to ask questions and learn more about the room they sat in and what it takes to become a judge or a lawyer.

One of the things students asked about was the gavel used at the end of the trial after a sentence was given. Thompson explained to the students what a gavel was used for and that it was mostly there for show.

“I worked at a court where I did not even have a gavel. I don’t think I got one until my mom gave me one as a gift,‘ he said. “I still don’t think I ever used it. Thanks, mom.‘

Others asked about Lady Justice, the pictures around the room of past judges and why Thompson wore a robe.

And that was what the day was about, said Thompson, giving the kids a learning experience and giving them a taste of what the courtroom is like. While the idea of placing well-know characters of folklore on trial is fun, it is what the kids take away from the day that is important.

“I have had many people come through my court and say they became inspired after doing a very similar thing when they were younger,‘ he said. “So that is what it is about, getting the kids inspired.‘

Cadillac News

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