OAK HILL, W.Va (WOAY) – When Tega Toney, asocial studies teacher at Oak Hill High School, reached out to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals hoping to get at least one justice to speak to some of the honors students at the high school, she was surprised to learn that three agreed to come.
“When they said three justices are interested in coming to Oak Hill High School, I was shocked and surprised but I’m very happy for our students that they had the opportunity to hear three justices three out of the five,” Toney said.
And those three were Justice Tim Armstead, Justice John Hutchison and former Congressman and current Justice Evan Jenkins. On Friday, the three broke down the judicial branch of government, how it works within the state and how it works with the other branches of government.
“Well, I am a believer, maybe because I’ve served in the legislative branch, that I think as a justice, you have a responsibility not just to sit on the bench,” Justice Jenkins said. “Come down off the bench. Go out and talk to the public, share information about what the court does and how important it is in our balance of government.”
The three justices agreed that going before a group of students was important not only from an educational standpoint but also to give them a human side and show transparency especially after four were impeached last year for allegations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty.
“A couple of years ago, there was some bad thing that went on in the Supreme Court,” Justice Hutchison said. “We want the folks of the State of West Virginia to know that that’s behind us. We’re a different court. We’re a new court and that we are responsive. That’s why these types of meeting with kids are so so important to let them know, hey, it’s not a real big deal. I can stand and talk to. Supreme Court Justice.”
Not only did they get to talk to them. They asked questions, participated in demonstrations and one even got to wear a justice robe.