Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fighting for Individual Freedoms

Last Friday, all 170 9th grade students boarded buses and headed to three different law firms across D.C. They went to these firms (Hogan Lovells, Foley & Lardner, Latham & Watkins) to participate in the second Law Day of the year. Law Day is a program we run every month for our 9th grade students to teach them basic legal lessons and skills. This Law Day focused on the individual rights and freedoms entitled to us by the constitution. This was the first time that this particular lesson had ever been run! We were able to introduce two new lessons this year due to our new partner firms, Latham & Watkins and Foley & Lardner!

The lesson began with lawyers informing students that a new president was elected and that he or she was governing the country in a dictatorial manner. In order to try and prevent a revolt, the president was going to allow the citizens (the students) to choose three rights that they would be able to keep. The students had 15 rights to start with and every round they had to forfeit a certain number of rights. The Law Day coordinator at Foley & Lardner, Marilee Miller, remarked that our “students were thoughtful, engaged, and really interested in learning about their rights and picking which ones to forfeit”.

Students at Foley & Lardner decide with volunteers, Marilee Miller and Dineo Mplea-Thompson, which rights to forfeit.

The next part of the lesson involved the students applying their new knowledge of rights and freedoms. The students were given a scenario that described when individual rights come into conflict with one another. The particular scenario was about a religious club in a public school. The rights that were in conflict with each other were freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination. In this portion of the lesson, the students had to use their creativity and come up with a campaign commercial that lobbied their position. The students were either students for the club, parents for the club, students against the club or parents against the club. All of the students enjoyed using their dramatic skills to sell their position.

Students discussing how to best pitch their position with our volunteer lawyer, Jim Bierman.

Overall, the day was a great success. A special thanks to Eleanor Lewis, our Law Day Consultant, who wrote our new Law Day lesson. Another special thank you goes to all of our Law Day teachers and chaperones! The day would not have happened without you!

No comments:

Post a Comment