Teen Court

When middle and high school students get in trouble with the law and/or school for low-level crimes, there are a few options that can help them return to the right path while avoiding excessively harsh punishments.  One such option is Teen Court, a diversion program available to qualifying first-time juvenile offenders.

Vantage Pointe staff oversee and administer New Hanover Teen Court. Youth who get in trouble can be referred directly from law enforcement and School Resource Officers at the time of the incident. Other youth may be diverted from Juvenile and District Court rather than going through formal adult prosecution.

The program is designed to help youth and teens who have made a mistake take responsibility for their actions. They must admit guilt to participate in the program, but then with the aid of pro-social peer interactions they may take personal responsibility for any damage their actions caused, for themselves, their families and others. Student volunteers and previous youth offenders serve in all courtroom positions, including prosecuting and defense attorneys, clerks, jurors and bailiffs; an adult judge presides.  Student defendants must agree to be held accountable for their actions by accepting and completing the sentence given by the peer jury.

Youth volunteers learn how the judicial system works, and provide a valuable community service which may meet Beta Club, National Honor Society, or other school-related service requirements.

Participating in Teen Court empowers youth to be decision makers, public speakers, and critical thinkers, and teaches them that even as youth, they have the ability to hold themselves and others to high standards of behavior in their schools and communities.

Click here for the list of Teen Court hearing dates for the remainder of the 20-21 school year.

Email all completed forms to newhanovertc@vantagepointenc.org or fax to (910) 362-8008.

Due to the pandemic New Hanover Teen Court will not hold in-person hearings in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, we will continue to hold hearings online. Following are the dates during which these will be held. Hearings will begin promptly at 6:00 P.M. using the Webex format, the invitations to which will go out to student and adult volunteers wishing to participate:

February 18, 2021
March 18, 2021
April 15, 2021
May 20, 2021
June 17, 2021
July 15, 2021
August 19, 2021
September 16, 2021
October 21, 2021
November 18, 2021
December 16, 2021


Teen Court – Youth Volunteers

If you’re a middle or high school student in New Hanover county and are interested in a career in law or simply want to learn more about the judicial system, you may want to volunteer your time serving as a bailiff, jury member, court attorney, or in another position on the teen court. Members of this court are involved in real-world decisions affecting their peers. In addition to the experience, volunteering for teen court is a great addition to any college application or resume. You can find the volunteer form on the Teen Court page.

You will need to complete a new volunteer form for each new school year, to ensure all information is up to date.

For more information contact the New Hanover County Teen Court at newhanovertc@vantagepointenc.org. Rick Abrams, Programs Manager at Vantage Pointe.

Teen Court – Adult Volunteers

Adults who volunteer with our teen court program serve as judges, attorney mentors, and other supervisors to the student volunteers. While court experience is helpful, it’s not required to volunteer.

If you are interested in volunteering, contact the New Hanover County Teen Court at newhanovertc@vantagepointenc.org. Rick Abrams, Programs Manager at Vantage Pointe.

When you sign in, please make sure that we have your email address, as that is our primary method of communication.

No. While we do encourage attending a training session, training is not required to volunteer. We do offer two trainings for both programs over the course of the year. For New Hanover Teen Court one is on TBD, and the other is on TBD.

Yes. We expect our student volunteers to dress like they belong in a courthouse. We ask that you do not wear jeans, t-shirts and sneakers.  NO SHORTS ARE PERMITTED in the courthouse. If you have any concerns, contact your Teen Court Coordinator.

Many student organizations have a service log that can be signed/stamped at the conclusion of Teen Court. We also maintain sign-in sheets.

It is our official record of your attendance, and we will not be able to confirm your hours without having you officially sign in.  IF YOU ARRIVE AFTER Teen Court sessions begin, you will be able to sign in before you leave. Please, however, make every effort to arrive on time.

No. We welcome volunteers at any point during the school year.  We have had athletes, band students, etc. who attend when their schedules are a little lighter.