Public v. Private: Injustice at Mock Trial Districts

While+private+school+students+have+been+permitted+into+the+courthouse%2C+public+school+attendees+must+suffer+during+the+online+mock+trial.

Angelina Morffi

While private school students have been permitted into the courthouse, public school attendees must suffer during the online mock trial.

Angelina Morffi, Staff Writer

This year, the excitement of walking up to the judges will not be felt by Coral Gables Senior High’s mock trial team because district competitions will be conducted virtually. Attendees around the district worry that no matter how much practice is completed, there will be no chance of persevering.

After countless hours spent devoted to practicing, Cavaliers will be submitting prerecorded videos of themselves. For many, it does not even feel like a competition. While students attending public schools must retake countless videos and set up lighting, opponents from private schools have been permitted to remain in the courtroom.

Students worry this disadvantage will lessen their chances of placing or even advancing to the next round. It is unfair to have students work for something they are ill-prepared for, while others get their usual joyous experience. Perhaps this is an issue exceeding the bounds of a courtroom competition.

We are basically competing against ourselves. It’s not a real competition, and it’s unfair to the students,”

— Mr. Garcia

“I definitely feel more nervous than I have before. As a senior, I have already experienced a mock trial but newer members haven’t, and I worry they may struggle. I just wish we had the same opportunity. If they can go, why can’t we? It’s the same principle,” senior Rocio Portal said.

It is clear who they are willing to accommodate for and who they are not. Putting private schools over public schools is unfair and classist to the highest extent. The district stripped them away from the opportunities that come with this competition, whether it be bonding by practicing lines or speeches, the adrenaline rush that comes with competing, and even walking up to the podium joyfully after finding out you have won. By limiting public schools to a video, they are put at a disadvantage from excelling, and because of this, the competition has made their prejudice clear.

“I also think there’s a lot less motivation than usual because it’s just for a video. We’re not practicing for a competition. We’re practicing to film a video, and that worries me,” junior Sofia Bronstein said.

Whether Miami Dade County Public School could have all participants online or physically, the effort was not put into creating a fair situation for all, and as a result, public school students will suffer. Considering private schools run on individualized terms and public schools must universally follow guidelines set forth by the districts, it is understandable that they will have different rules, however. It becomes a problem once there is a clear lack of equity when it comes to events like these.

Either all or no teams should be allowed in the courtroom. To have only certain teams perform in person makes a mockery of the rivalry element that is so necessary for competitive fields. This injustice has a solution, and the district has put forth no effort into making this a fair competition for all parties involved.