(Photo: Judge Ehrlich raps to teens and parents in her courtroom)
It was anything but business as usual, in a Florida courtroom, as juveniles serve out an unusual sentence.
A judge is taking a creative approach to community service, by teaching troubled kids how to turn their lives around through poetry. One after another, kids took the podium to read poetry.
"I never read poems. I never understood poems. This is new for me," said 14-year-old Bradley Pierre.
It's how Pierre and a dozen others are serving their sentence - by reading positive poems.
Judge Merrilee Ehrlich is taking a nontraditional approach.
"I don't want them doing mindless things, picking up litter in a park or cleaning cop cars. I wanted community service work related to their charges that would teach them how to be creative, how to provoke thought," she said.
The kids aren't just knocking off 40 hours off their community service, they're also getting a surprise from the judge herself. She didn't read poetry however, she rapped.
The parents in the audience love the idea of what Ehrlich calls poetry in motion. Just looking around her courtroom, you can see her dedication to be a positive influence on teens and she hopes the punishment helps.