On March 17 2018 students of the English-language school of Russe, Bulgaria met with American youth from two schools in Massachusetts, USA. After ice-breakers, they switched to topics concerning the differences in school rules and structure, the youth's taste for music and entertainment, political views, and the extent to which they were the subject of conversation among young people, the violation of the rules and the consequences thereof. During the discussion, it became clear that, unlike Bulgarian students, their American peers did not even try to smoke near their school. The worry that they will be expelled from the school is related to a conscious sense of failure that directly affects their future. Drugs and child abuse are a common problem that is exciting for young people in both countries. To the question "What happens in the United States if you cheat during an exam?", The American children simply replied: "You just do not cheat."
The two groups of young people both had things to learn from each other. "It's surprising how many common things we have and how different the conditions are where we live," said a Bulgarian girl who attended the meeting and her classmate added, "I did not expect that we would be listening to the same music and we have so many common interests. I am also surprised by the fact that American students are involved in politics. "
The discussion was led by their teachers Mrs. Hanna Puket of Nobel and Greywood School and Mrs. Zdravka Demirova of English Language School. "It was pleasure to facilitate this meeting. I was pleased to observe the intension and the desire with which the young people communicate on socially important topics such as who and how rules their countries, what laws and differences in their schools are", confirmed Mrs. Puket.
The meeting is part of the work of the Child Advisory Board, which gathers in Rousse from July 2017. It includes children aged 14-17 years who are interested in topics related to child justice.
During board meetings, which are always open to new members, a discussion is provoked, children are encouraged to express opinions on topics, tell a personal story or one they have been witnessing.
As part of the AWAY project co-funded by the REC program of the European Union, comparisons are made and examples are given of the different approaches to child justice by diversion practiced in different countries. It is up to members of the Youth Advisory Board to explore this experience at the next board meeting that will take place in May 2018.