Mock trial teams earn accolades

Mock trial

teams earn


High school basketball has been receiving abundant attention in recent weeks, and for good reason.

A number of area teams have enjoyed great success, with the Bishop Guilfoyle girls and Bishop Carroll boys reaching the PIAA?semifinals. They deserve the region’s congratulations.

But there is notable success beyond the basketball courts as well. One example is the mock trial teams of Altoona Area and Central high schools, which are advancing to the state tournament March 28-29 in Harrisburg. Thumbs-up to them as they, too, deserve the region’s best wishes.

One of the largest competitions of its kind in the nation, the Pennsylvania Bar Association/Young Lawyer Division Mock Trial Competition gives more than 290 high school student teams from across the state the opportunity to act as lawyers and witnesses in simulated civil trials before actual judges and juries.

Each year, the winning team represents Pennsylvania in the national competition.

Others worthy of thumbs-up/thumbs-down mention:

People concerned about students’ conduct in the schools should respect the courage of Angela Thomas, who went before the Altoona Area school board, urging that security cameras be installed in classrooms to deter bullying.

Thomas recounted an incident last week in which she said her son was put in a headlock by another student during class while the teacher was outside the classroom. Thomas said school administrators told her there was nothing they could do because of a lack of evidence.

Thumbs-up to Thomas, who merits praise for her courage in going before the board. Problems not attacked usually remain problems, or get worse.

Thumbs-down to the situation in Reade Township, where two residents received threatening letters warning them to stop speaking out about municipal leadership. The letters are a serious matter, and the state police are investigating.

What is amusing, however, is that the person or persons who sent the letters, who claimed to be part of the Ku Klux Klan, don’t know how to spell the name of the organization.

For the record, the correct name is Ku Klux Klan, not “Klu” Klux Klan, which is the way the name appeared in the letter.

Whoever is responsible for the letter threatened to take action against the two residents, both of whom have been critical of the township supervisors and municipal authority members. Part of the letter reads that “it is our mission to clean trash like you out of our rural Pennsylvania communities.”

Tough language, but questionable spelling skills.

Thumbs-up to the Blair County Drug Task Force, which has been much in the news in recent months for getting drug dealers off the streets. The March 15 Mirror article “Task force nabs 22 alleged dealers” provided an example of what the task force has been consistently able to accomplish.

The only downside to the task force’s efforts is that so many of the “big fish” who influence the area’s drug scene have not been brought to justice. However, the bulk of those people do not live here, and the “little fish” don’t know their names or have access to them. Law-abiding residents should be grateful for the task force’s work.