Valley Glen students put Willy Wonka on trial to learn how judicial system works

VALLEY GLEN, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles tends to see its share of celebrity trials, but the latest one may take the cake and the candy.

The sixth-graders at Laurence School in Valley Glen staged a mock trial this week, putting famed candy maker Willy Wonka on the stand. Wonka was charged with attempted murder and gross negligence in connection to accidents at his factory involving Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregard and Mike TeeVee.

The school has been holding these mock trials for the past 29 years, charging fictional and historical characters like Peter Pan, Frankenstein and the captain of the Titanic and putting their fates into the hands of student jurors.

"Understanding the judicial system, understanding civics, social justice and really critical thinking about right and wrong is such an important part for our kids to learn," said Laurence Head of School Laurie Wolke, who started the program.

Students play all the roles in the staged event: judge, prosecutors, defense attorneys, witnesses and the jury.

"We had actual lawyers come in to speak with us about what goes on in court and they reviewed actual cases that they had," said sixth-grade student Casey Reims.

In the end, the student jurors let Wonka off the hook - the trial ended with a hung jury.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.