History goes on trial

Published 5:52 pm Thursday, March 7, 2019

Aleysia Walton as the judge and Kahlik Turner being sworn in as witness. — Submitted Jennifer Dreibelbis


History is coming alive for sixth grade students in Alicia Johnston’s U.S. history class at Southampton Middle School. As part of their unit on the Revolutionary War, students re-enacted the trial of the Citizens of the Massachusetts Colony v. Captain Thomas Preston.

Captain Preston was charged with giving the command to the British Redcoats to fire on Boston colonists, which became known as the Boston Massacre.

Students acted out all the major players of the lawsuit, including Preston’s attorney, future U.S. President John Adams. Students presented arguments to a jury of their classmates. Out of Johnston’s six classes, four found Captain Preston guilty, one found him not guilty and one class resulted in a hung jury.

In real life, Preston was acquitted, retired from the British army and settled in Ireland.

Aleysia Walton as the judge and Nyla Canada as the witness. — Submitted Jennifer Dreibelbis