Listening to Our Youth: OAG’s New High School Advisory Council

High School Advisory Council
Members of the OAG High School Advisory Council with Christina Jones, OAG’s Special Counsel for Strategic Youth Initiatives.

This summer, the Office of Attorney General (OAG) launched its High School Advisory Council (HSAC), a new program designed for youth to learn advocacy and policymaking and to inform OAG’s work. The inaugural class of nine teenagers, mostly freshman and sophomores from surrounding high schools, began this yearlong program with a two-week summer “bootcamp” on June 15.

In this bootcamp, youth have:

  • Met with AG Racine and OAG leadership: HSAC members have met with AG Racine and each of OAG’s 11 divisions to learn about our work to protect consumers, enhance public safety, preserve affordable housing, employ data-driven juvenile justice reforms, and more. This understanding of OAG’s work gives youth a better sense of what recommendations they can make that will affect local policy.
  • Attended professional development events: Attorneys presented two trainings to youth on how to articulate and present arguments. One training was given by the OAG’s Office of Solicitor General on how to formulate a cogent written argument. The other training taught youth how to orally present an argument and debate an advocate with an opposing viewpoint.
  • Toured the Wilson Building and local courthouses: HSAC members visited the John A. Wilson Building, home to multiple municipal offices, and spoke with Beverly L. Perry, Senior Advisor to Mayor Muriel Bowser. The group also participated in a scavenger hunt in the Wilson Building, learning about its history and the many artifacts it houses. HSAC members also visited the D.C. Superior Court and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and got to speak with several judges.

Asked about their experience so far, the HSAC members highlighted the opportunity to work with students from across the District. Mimi From Georgetown Day School added, “It was great being able to meet kids from really different backgrounds and all come together to work on policies where our ideas may differ.”

After this bootcamp, HSAC members will have opportunities throughout the school year to meet with Attorney General Racine to discuss policy recommendations on important issues and put their summer training to use. This High School Advisory Council is just one way AG Racine is committed giving our District youth a seat at the table and amplifying their voices on issues that directly affect them.