America's system of government depends on citizen participation. Madison Prep's student government is no different, and it includes all three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. The Judicial Branch of Madison Prep's unique Student Government includes the Supreme Court Justices, Clerk and Bailiffs, the Attorney General and staff, and a cadre of defense attorneys. The Supreme Court hears all misdemeanor cases, which come to the court as tickets written by teachers or upperclassmen. Any student with such a ticket is summoned for a preliminary hearing, at which hearing a plea (guilty or not guilty) is entered. If guilty, the judges determine the student's sentence. If not guilty, then a trial is scheduled, cases are built by the Attorney General and the defense attorney(s), and witnesses are deposed in preparation for the trial.
The nine justices on the Supreme Court are appointed by the Student Body President and confirmed by the Senate (senators are made up of 2 students from each high school house). Once confirmed, the justices elect their Chief Justice and are ready to begin hearing cases, a responsibility that they take seriously.
The Court conducts preliminary hearings and full trials as needed, and these reflect many aspects of the American judicial system, including the use of the rules of evidence, protection of the rights of the accused, and punishments that fit the crimes. Each student is required to participate in the Madison student government and is evaluated based on his/her involvement and effort. Students will receive a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grade each trimester.
Students will experience at least two of the three branches of the government during a four-year high school career, and they might, in some cases, change branches during a school year in order to enhance the experiential nature of this learning process.
We are devoting time and resources to actualizing student and faculty participation in each branch, with checks and balances on the limited powers defined for each. Real legislation will be drafted, real compromises will be reached in the passage of bills, and real decisions will be made regarding school functions, social activities, enrichment club activities, student fundraising, and other appropriate student issues in accordance with the School Constitution. The student government also will be responsible each trimester for choosing a community service project for the school population to carry out in the larger Phoenix area community.
As in the American system, the legislative branch will draft and pass legislation, the executive branch will sign or veto passed legislation and enforce signed legislation, and the judicial branch will adjudicate alleged breaches of campus rules. Naturally, school administration will deal with egregious student infractions, transcending the student government. In order to keep the government focused and moving ahead, the president will address the student body with a prepared speech at least once a year.
As in the American system, a free press is essential. In the Madison Prep system, a small number of students and one faculty member will stand outside the student government to report on its activities via The Federalist, the student newspaper.