Criminal Justice Faculty Get Creative with Guest Speaker During Pandemic


When City Colleges classes moved online in March, Wright College faculty member David Franco decided to keep his guest speaker on the calendar and invite the Honorable Judge Blanche Fawell, formerly Presiding Judge of the DuPage County Domestic Relations Court Division, to visit his criminal justice class virtually.

“The most common motivation I hear from students who want to enter law enforcement is a chance to make a difference. I want them to understand that there are many different opportunities to do just that,” said Franco.

When Judge Fawell joined the class on April 21st, students had the opportunity to ask her questions related to topics they have been learning all semester, including restorative justice, the legal rights of juveniles, successful probation options, and special populations within the justice system. One student asked if she had ever felt threatened after making a tough decision in court, and another asked if she ever had personal feelings toward the criminals who appeared before her. A third student asked if Judge Fawell had ever disagreed with a jury’s verdict.

“The students were really engaged and asked insightful questions. It was a great opportunity to connect what they are learning in class directly to the juvenile court system. It’s not every day that you can ask a judge about their first-hand experience, and we are grateful to Judge Fawell for her time and candor,” said Franco.