Johnston’s Pack 20 Families in Scouting program continued its series of tours about learning how to become better citizens with a visit to Family Court in Providence last Thursday.
The Cub Scouts have recently visited the Johnston Police Department’s headquarters, Fire Station #2 on Putnam Pike, and the State House as they learned more about what it means to become a positive member of the community.
Thursday’s tour, which was facilitated by Magistrate Angela Paulhus and Sheriff Bob Rossi, was a real eye opener for the Cubs. Judge Paulhus, who typically officiates cases involving families and minors, explained the ins and outs of a typical day in a courtroom.
Judge Paulhus explained why minors may appear before the court, from truancy and absences in school to vandalism, crimes, and misbehavior. She also related that cases she oversees often do not involve crimes, such as divorces and custody cases. Scouts participated in a mock trial, acting as plaintiff, defendant, and witness. They also got to sit at the judge’s desk and in the jury box.
Paulhus told the Cubs that she became a judge to assist her father, who was an immigrant to the country, with a lawsuit filed against him for a construction job he had worked on. She explained how she went to law school and what was needed to become an attorney and a judge. Judge Paulhus also told the children about dedication to dreams and how persistence pays off; as her father won the case she assisted with. As this round of Cub Scouts consisted mostly of young girls, Paulhus proved to be an incredibly positive role model for the children to emulate.
Deputy Sheriff Rossi provided the Cubs with a hands on demonstration of the tools of his trade. He explained how he had been an executive at FedEx for 30 years before going back to school to earn his master’s degree and follow his passion to be involved in law enforcement. He showed the Cubs his radio, Taser, pepper spray, and sidearm and explained scenarios in which each would be used.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the visit was when Deputy Sheriff Rossi lined the Scouts up to be handcuffed. He later provided a tour of the court’s holding cells, locking the group inside one of them and warning the students that he hoped to never see them in such a situation ever again, and to listen to what their families and leaders tell them.
The tour ended with a question and answer session, followed by gifts provided to the Scouts including a courthouse coloring book, a measuring tape and level, and a pocket version of the Constitution.
(Text and photos by Tim Forsberg)