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KINGSBURG – After Kingsburg elementary teacher Jodi Zapata served as a juror in the Hon. James M. Petrucelli’s courtroom, the Fresno County Superior Court judge decided to visit her fourth-grade classroom at Reagan Elementary.

Zapata recently served as a juror on a criminal trial and had to miss class time to fulfill her civic duty. She decided to turn this experience into a teachable moment for her students.

After teaching her students about what takes place in a courtroom and about the different staff members that work in this aspect of the justice system, the students decided to write letters to the Judge Petrucelli.

“After the trial was over, the judge contacted me and agreed to come be a guest speaker. He brought in his robe and gavel and did a wonderful job speaking to the children,” Zapata said. “He brought their letters so he could answer their questions and said the kids asked very good questions. Being a grandfather, it touched his heart so he wanted to come visit the class instead of just writing back. He allowed the students to try on his robe and hold his gavel.”

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