Legal Enrichment And Decision-making
Sadly, too many young people first become acquainted with the
justice system as delinquents. With a more fundamental knowledge of
right and wrong, the law, and the consequences for breaking the law,
more young people would be equipped to make the right decisions in
life. That is the basis of Project L.E.A.D., a 20-week law-related
program targeting fifth-graders throughout Los Angeles County.
Through Project L.E.A.D., volunteer deputy district attorneys and
district attorney investigators teach fifth-grade students about the
law and help them recognize the social and legal consequences of
The lessons consist of instruction on the criminal justice system
and an analytical approach to solving student-acted hypotheticals
involving drug use, gang involvement, theft, hate crimes, driving
under the influence, truancy, graffiti, and other issues. The
curriculum aims to instill positive values in students and help them
develop self-esteem, conflict resolution skills, and the ability to
resist peer pressure. The program culminates in a mock trial put on
by the students.
To provide a balanced view of the criminal justice system,
outside speakers visit the classroom to speak and interact with the
students. Judges, public defenders, private defense attorneys,
police officers, detectives, and probation officers are invited to
visit the classroom, presenting their perspective on the day’s
lesson and discussing their role within the criminal justice system.
Students go on up to two field trips: The Museum of Tolerance and a local courthouse.
At the end of the 20-week course of study, Project L.E.A.D.
students conduct a mock trial involving either drug selling or gun
possession on campus. Many of these mock trials are held in actual
courtrooms during the students’ field trip. Students are assigned
roles and argue a criminal case to a jury consisting of students.
Teachers and parents attend, and students receive completion
Since its inception in 1993, Project L.E.A.D. has served
thousands of students in hundreds of schools throughout Los Angeles
County – from the Antelope Valley to Long Beach and from the West
San Fernando Valley to the East San Gabriel Valley.
How to get involved
Schools throughout Los Angeles County are invited to participate
in Project L.E.A.D. School principals interested in the program
should call the District Attorney’s Community Relations Division at
The program runs from September to June in both traditional and
year-round schools. Due to the large number of requests for
participation in the program and the fact that Project L.E.A.D. is
volunteer-based, we are not able to accommodate all schools.