Published Online: February 12, 1997

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Driven to serve

Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!

Student traffic court is in session for the first time this week at Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, Wash.

In a twist on the growing number of student-run disciplinary panels, Kamiak High's new traffic court will focus on student drivers who speed or breeze through red lights.

In a program endorsed by the Mukilteo police department and the local court system, students who get traffic tickets can have their cases moved to the student court. They must plead guilty to the infraction, but they can plead special circumstances to a six-member student jury, which uses guidelines to mete out penalties of mandatory community service.

When students complete the service--for example, a student might serve 30 hours for going 15 miles over the speed limit--their tickets are wiped from their traffic records.

"This is a middle- to upper-middle-class area," said Jerry Morris, the faculty adviser for the student court. "Cars are very important to these kids."

The student traffic court is open only to first-time offenders. Also, it will not handle serious charges such as reckless driving or tickets stemming from car accidents.

If a student fails to complete his service, the ticket will be reinstated and the driver will go before a judge in Everett district court. Mr. Morris has appointed a student from his government classes to monitor participants.

Showstopper

In theater, the show must go on. Or not.

Actors with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery, Ala., walked off the stage recently after students pelted them with rocks and gum.

As 750 middle and high school students from across the state watched a performance last month of "The Miracle Worker: The Life Story of Helen Keller," some students in the front rows began throwing used chewing gum and rocks at the actors.

"An appeal was made for this not to continue or the show would be stopped," said Bil Schroeder, the spokesman for the festival.

But the students didn't stop, so the performers voted during intermission not to continue.

The students caused an estimated $700 in damage to the stage, seats, and costumes. But students who were not involved in the incident have been invited back to see the entire show.

"The school program is not in jeopardy," Mr. Schroeder said. "It will go on."

--MARK WALSH & ADRIENNE D. COLES

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