Each year, OJEN’s Justice Education Fellowship program provides Public Legal Education training and experience to a select group of Ontario law students. Before the start of the fall semester, Fellows meet with OJEN staff to learn about our justice education project models, facilitation techniques for youth audiences and tips for working with teachers, volunteers and community partners. Each Fellow commits to delivering a minimum of three justice education projects, support local OJEN Committees when applicable and contribute to various OJEN activities that arise during the Fellowship period.
In the 2019-2020 academic year, six Fellows from six universities are delivering a wide range of justice education projects with ongoing support from OJEN staff. Each student chooses projects according to their areas of interest or based on requests from the local community. Among the projects delivered by OJEN Fellows this year are workshops on cyberbullying, employment law and alternative dispute resolution.
In Toronto, Miscia Sullivan from Osgoode Hall Law School and Amanda Cutinha from University of Toronto Faculty of Law joined forces recently to develop and deliver a workshop on Safety and Sexting for high school classes. Their presentation focuses on giving students information on civil and criminal laws related to the sharing of intimate images online and other potential consequences that may occur when intimate images are shared.
“We knew that it was important not to come across as judgmental. We know that many young people are sexting. We want students to be safe and lawful. Young people need to understand the social, personal, and legal consequences for the person sharing the image and to know the effects it has on the person whose image is shared,” Miscia explained.
Amanda and Miscia made use of their OJEN training to create an interactive agenda that engaged the students, to create and maintain a respectful classroom environment that allowed open discussion about a sensitive subject, and to coordinate with teachers and justice sector volunteers.
Amanda and Miscia received on-site assistance from Shane Martinez, a criminal defense lawyer who provided legal expertise to answer questions students had about attaining consent and about sexual assault laws.
So far they have delivered the workshop to two classes and hope to deliver the workshop again .
OJEN Fellows expand OJEN’s programming reach across Ontario by delivering a total of at least 18 justice education projects among them per year. The Fellows program is an important way to insure law students entering their careers are prepared to make PLE part of their lives. This promises to have lasting impact in the sector.