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PSJA ISD hosts Courts in Schools special event with Hidalgo Co. Judge Singleterry presiding

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SAN JUAN – More than a hundred Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD middle school students had the opportunity to view real court proceedings at a Courts in Schools event held as part of the PSJA Pre-Law Institute. Hidalgo County 92nd District Court Judge Luis Manuel Singleterry, a PSJA graduate himself, presided court at Austin Middle School on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. 

Started in the fall of 2018, the PSJA Institutes provide students in-depth knowledge and hands-on experiences in various careers. The PSJA Institutes offer these opportunities to 8th-12th grade students. PSJA ISD is the only school district in the Rio Grande Valley currently offering these career-advancing opportunities to students.   

The Hidalgo County Courts in Schools Program is part of Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42.025-Sentencing Hearing at Secondary Schools that allows judges to order sentence hearings hosted at high schools to provide this educational value to students.    

“We’re here to bring court to students. Most people never get to experience courtroom proceedings,” said Judge Singleterry. “We bring defendants, defense attorneys, probation officers, and other key individuals for these events so that students can witness this in person.”  

By witnessing real court, students can see attorneys and judges in action, allowing them to learn more about careers in the legal field and law-enforcement.  

“We want to inspire our middle school students to start thinking about careers and their future early on,” said PSJA School Boad Secretary Jesse Zambrano and PSJA Pre-Law Institute Lead. “Ultimately we want them to take advantage of opportunities we have in high school and get excited about colleges, even law school.” 

PSJA ISD was the first district in Hidalgo County to offer this academic opportunity for students. More than a hundred students from Austin Middle SchoolYzaguirre Middle School and those enrolled in the PSJA Institutes got to attend the event. 

“We are excited to be able to bring these opportunities for our students at PSJA ISD,” said PSJA Superintendent Dr. Jorge L. Arredondo. “By witnessing live court we hope that students learn more about different legal careers, and ultimately get inspired to pursue these in the future.” 

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