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Greetings from the Kansas Supreme Court and the Kansas Bar Association. This is the final edition of Law Wise for the 2003-2004 school year. The theme of the April edition of Law Wise has historically focused on Law Day, celebrated throughout the country on May 1 - and this year is no exception.
Calendar of Events
Law Day is a special day focusing on our heritage of liberty under law, a national day of celebration officially designated by a joint resolution of Congress in 1961. Every year, the legal community is joined by national organizations, state and local bars, businesses, and schools, in conducting thousands of programs on the rule of law in a constitutional democracy. This year's theme is " To Win Equality by Law: Brown v. Board at 50."
Origins of Law Day: A Chronology
Congressional Resolution Establishing Law Day
The following is the congressional resolution that established the first Law Day:
To Win Equality by Law: Brown v. Board at 50
In a composite Nation like ours, made up of almost every variety of the human family, there should be, as before the Law, no rich, no poor, no high, no low, no black, no white, but one country, one citizenship, equal rights and a common destiny for all. --Frederick Douglass
America's circuitous march toward equality has changed our society and our institutions in ways the founders could not have imagined, profoundly reshaping the nation's attitudes and values along the way. The law has been instrumental in these changes, and has been influenced by them in turn. Through law and the courts, one group of Americans after another has redefined "equality" in a fiercely contested process that may never be complete.
No milestone in this process is more important than the Supreme Court's 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. The culmination of a long line of court cases brought by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Brown not only struck down laws segregating public schools, but also sounded the death knell for government-sanctioned segregation generally, made all Americans more aware of our Constitution's promise of equality, and helped launch the civil rights movement.
Law Day 2004 will celebrate the 50th anniversary of this historic case. By commemorating the Court's decision in Brown, Law Day can help illuminate the meaning of equality in our democracy and the role of law, advocates, and courts in establishing and protecting our rights.
This article was found at http://www.abanet.org/publiced/lawday/theme2004.html.
The Young Lawyers Section of the Kansas Bar Association hosted the state high school mock trial competition on April 3, 2004 at the Sedgwick County Courthouse in Wichita. This years' statewide competition was funded in parts by a generous contribution from a Kansas Bar Foundation Fellow Silver member. The results of the competition were as follows:
State Winner: Independent School, Coach John Steere
First Runner-up: Shawnee Mission East, Coach Paulette Manville
Second Runner-up: Shawnee Mission South, Coach Cathy McNamara
Independent School will represent Kansas at the 21st Annual National High School Mock Trial Championship in Orlando, Florida May 6-9, 2004, where they will compete against the winners from other states.
For statewide competition, each participating team consists of three lawyers and three witnesses. Teams compete against each other using a set of facts and following simplified evidentiary rules. This year, students argued the case of Wright v. Play and Learn Child Care Center. Each round of competition is judged by three actual lawyers, with one serving as a presiding judge to rule on objections and two serving as jurors to score the performance of the mock lawyers and witnesses. Over 100 lawyers volunteered their time to help with this year's competition by serving as coordinators, judges, or coaches.
Mock trials are designed to provide young people with an operational understanding of the law, legal issues, and the judicial process. Participation in mock trials offers students an insider's perspective on courtroom procedures and helps them gain a basic understanding of the legal mechanism through which society chooses to resolve many of its disputes. Additionally, mock trials give participants practical knowledge about courts and trials which can be invaluable should they ever be jurors or witnesses in a real trial or principles in a legal action.
A special thank you is extended to all of our Mock Trial participants.
Meet the 2004 State Winner!!
The U.S. Supreme Court landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas marks its 50th year on May 17, 2004. In commemoration of this anniversary, the Kansas Bar Association and various members of the Bench are making available to Kansas educators a 70-minute video that features the reenactment of the 1952 and 1953 oral arguments presented to the U.S. Supreme Court. We also have available supplemental materials that will help facilitate the discussion and help students better understand the context.
This video is free of charge to Kansas educators. We encourage you to call the Kansas Bar Association at (785) 234-5696 to receive your complimentary copy. The deadline to order your copy is April 30th. If you have further questions or would like more information, please contact Btissam Touijer at (785) 234-5696 or email email@example.com.
The ABA has a free newsletter that contains information on law-related education. Law Matters, which reports on developments, ideas, programs, and resources in the field of public education about the law, is published three times each year (winter, summer, fall). For information on ordering, contact the ABA at (312) 988-5735 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Kansas Court of Appeals, an 11-member intermediate appellate court, sits in three-judge panels. The court is pleased to have students attend the hearings. The Court of Appeals will next be hearing cases in Topeka, Kansas City, KS, Overland Park, and Wichita April 13-14. Two three-judge panels will sit in Wichita both days, one at the Sedgwick County Courthouse and the other at the "old" Sedgwick County Courthouse across the street. Three-member panels also will hear appeals in the U.S. District Court building in Kansas City, KS, and at Johnson County Community College, Overland Park. An additional panel will be in the Judicial Center in Topeka.
The Kansas Supreme Court is the highest court in the state, and includes seven members. Students are also welcome at oral arguments before the Supreme Court. The high court holds its hearings only in Topeka. The Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments during the week beginning May 10. If you have any questions concerning the Kansas appellate courts, or if you would like to bring your class to either the Kansas Supreme Court or the Kansas Court of Appeals, teachers may contact Ron Keefover, Education and Information Officer of the Office of Judicial Administration, 301 West 10th Avenue, Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507, (785) 296-4872, for assistance. You can also contact Mr. Keefover via email at email@example.com.
Grade level: 6-8, 9-12
Overview of Lesson Plan: In this lesson, students explore instances of segregated education around the world, supporting and refuting the idea through debate and persuasive essay.
Objectives: Students will:
Resources / Materials:
Activities / Procedures:
Further Questions for Discussion:
Evaluation / Assessment:
Students will be evaluated based on written journal entries, participation in class discussions and debate on segregation, and persuasive essay.
This lesson plan was adapted from the lesson found at http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/lessons/20010613wednesday.html?searchpv=learning_lessons and written by Annissa Hambouz, The New York Times Learning Network
Bulgaria Opens School Doors for Gypsy Children
VIDIN, Bulgaria, June 8 - Linka Shankova, a Gypsy mother in her 20's, is taking part in an unusual experiment intended to lift the lot of her people in Bulgaria, and indeed across Eastern Europe. For decades here, Gypsies, known as Roma in this part of the world, have been segregated in their schooling, confined to the poorly run and badly maintained schools like the one across a dusty lot from Ms. Shankova's ramshackle one-story brick home. That education kept them on society's lowest rungs, subject to the poverty and discrimination that has been their lot for centuries.
So this past year, in a curious throwback to American desegregation of past decades, Ms. Shankova has let her 10-year-old son, Bilian Mateev, join some 460 other Gypsy children who are bused from the dusty Nov Put neighborhood each morning to schools in other parts of Vidin to be integrated with other Bulgarian children. "My boy's lively," Mrs. Shankova said, praising a result of one year's integration. "But he's quieter now. He's very wise now." In September, her daughter Silvia, 8, will follow Bilian on the daily bus.
The struggle to integrate Vidin's Gypsy children has not been easy. Similar efforts to integrate the children of Gypsies elsewhere in Bulgaria failed after protests by non-Gypsy parents. Moreover, integration here was the fruit of a local initiative - unusual in a region accustomed to awaiting governmental remedy - that raised the hackles of education bureaucrats in the capital of Sofia, a three-hour drive to the south.
If the efforts here succeed, the model could well spread elsewhere in Eastern Europe, where Gypsies form a large part of the population. Vidin's experiment is being imitated in cities in Hungary and Slovakia, and will be repeated in September in four other Bulgarian cities. It has attracted the attention of Western benefactors, including the George Soros Foundation, which is paying salaries and providing books and other aid to Gypsy schoolchildren.
The need for desegregation is in part the paradoxical result of decades of efforts by former Communist governments in Eastern Europe to better integrate Gypsies into society.
After World War II, Communist leaders forced the historically nomadic Gypsies into a sedentary way of life, with fixed places of residence and jobs. To eliminate widespread illiteracy, special schools were established for Gypsy children.
For all the good intentions, the program masked racist undertones. In Bulgaria, for instance, the Gypsy schools were officially dubbed `'schools for children with inferior lifestyle and culture."
Overcrowded and underfunded, they often served as penal colonies for uncooperative teachers. The results were abysmal. According to Bulgaria's 1992 census, while 36 percent of Bulgarian children graduate from high school, fewer than 5 percent of Gypsy children do; 9 percent of Bulgarian youths obtain university degrees, compared with one-tenth of 1 percent among Gypsies.
Donka Panayotova, 45, a Gypsy teacher, daughter of a construction worker and the guiding light of the integration here, got to know this situation in 1983, after finishing college and joining the faculty of Vidin's Gypsy school.
"Officially, about 600 kids were registered," she said in a recent interview. "In fact, no more than 280 to 300 were ever attending." The conviction that integration was the sole solution came after she persuaded a Bulgarian colleague to enroll her grandson at the Gypsy school. The boy's presence forced Gypsy classmates to speak Bulgarian, sharply improving their academic performance, she said.
In 1997, Mrs. Panayotova decided to quit teaching and found an organization called Drom - Bulgarian for "the road" - to fight for desegregation. Despite the Bulgarian government's acceptance in 1999 of a framework agreement with Gypsy leaders to integrate Gypsies more fully into Bulgarian society, the government had dragged its feet on school desegregation. Seventy percent of Gypsy children remained in Gypsy schools. That same year, after several Gypsy families in Yambol, in southeastern Bulgaria, sought to enroll their children in Bulgarian schools, Bulgarian parents blocked their entrance with protests.
In Vidin, despite scattered resistance, preparations for desegregation began in earnest last spring. Katya Trifonova, the principal of a desegregated secondary school, said meetings with Bulgarian parents and teachers who feared a drop in educational standards were often heated and emotional. Gypsy parents, for their part, had to be assured for the safety of their children, she said. In scattered instances, teachers at the Gypsy school, apparently fearing for the future of their jobs if children deserted the school en masse, suggested that Gypsy children might face attacks from skinheads if they ventured out of the Gypsy neighborhood.
"I was worried, because my boy is darker than the others," said Aneta Sashova, gesturing toward her son, Goshko Kotsev, 11, a fourth grader.
Mrs. Sashova's situation is typical of many of Vidin's Gypsies, estimated to number roughly one-quarter of the population. Her family lives with the parents of her husband, who has never held a job. Until 1999, she worked in a chemical factory but was laid off when it shut down, and has survived on welfare ever since. She overcame her worries for her children after learning that Drom would buy them school books, materials like crayons for art lessons, and even shoes. "I had about decided to stop sending them to school altogether," she said of Goshko and his sister, who is in eighth grade.
Ms. Panayotova's experiment in desegregation was particularly risky as a test of tolerance in times of high stress. Slowly and painfully, Bulgaria is weaning itself from a Communist, centrally planned economy to a more open market. Vidin's two biggest factories, once employing tens of thousands to supply rubber tires and water pumps to markets in the old Soviet empire, are closed. Unemployment is so widespread that, by some estimates, as much as half the city's 1989 population of about 60,000 have emigrated in search of work. The economic battering heightened the isolation of the Gypsies, who once came out of their isolated slum neighborhood to work with other Bulgarians in local factories, but are now unemployed.
Rumyan Russinov, the director of a center in Budapest that is run by the Soros Foundation's Open Society Institute to help Gypsies, called the organizers in Vidin "the sappers that find the mines," to enable similar desegregation to succeed elsewhere in Eastern Europe.
"Every Romany leader feels he's a Martin Luther King," said Mr. Russinov, 34, who was born in Dunavtsi, down the Danube from Vidin. "We don't need that now, we need a movement, not just an individual. We need critical mass." Future initiatives, he said, will include university scholarships for Gypsy graduates of desegregated schools.
In Vidin, he said, despite initial acceptance of desegregation, the struggle is not yet over. Few Gypsy children are in integrated schools, though more are expected as the idea catches on among Gypsy parents. Moreover, the long-term effect of desegregation has yet to be felt.
"This is not a one-act play: it will be a long-term process," said Mariika Vasileva, vice principal of a primary school whose Gypsy pupils jumped last year to 110, from 80. "Only teachers who never had the chance to work with children of different ethnic backgrounds could believe that this would be an easy and quick process."
Lingering differences were evident as the sixth-grade class of Julia Petkova, who teaches Bulgarian language and literature at the school of SS. Cyril and Methodius, had a last lesson recently. In the first row, Borislav Borisov, a boy of 12 who is not a Gypsy, shared a two-seat bench and desk with Alexander Danchev, also 12, a tousled Gypsy boy - one of 7 in the class of 26. It was the last day of school, exams were over, everyone had passed, and thoughts were on vacation.
Borislav, asked about his summer plans, said he hoped his parents would take him, as in past years, to the Black Sea coast. Alexander, when asked the same question, appeared confused. After a pause, he replied, "I guess I'll play."
This corresponding article was found at http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/featured_articles/20010613wednesday.html and written by John Tagliabue, June 13, 2001, The New York Times Learning Network.
Grade level: K-6
Through listening to a story and discussing a series of photos, students will begin to understand how the education of Linda Brown resulted in one of the most important cases ever to be decided by the U. S. Supreme Court.
Read the insert on Brown in the Law Day 2004 Planning Guide and become familiar with the story. (Found at http://www.abanet.org/publiced/lawday/storiesofbrown.pdf). Think about how to tell the story using grade-appropriate language.
Locate some historical photos that illustrate Brown or other aspects of the struggle to desegregate schools. You'll find some online at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/civilrights/ka1.htm, and even more at the Brown Foundation site (http://brownvboard.org/trvlexbt/pnl01/pnl01.htm). Or you can use the photos on pages 6, 12, 18, 26, 36, and 42 of the Law Day Planning Guide, found at http://www.abanet.org/publiced/lawday/guidemain.html. Secure the photos on stock paper to facilitate viewing.
Ask the students if they have heard the story of Linda Brown. Because this is an anniversary year, it is possible that students are aware of Linda Brown and/or Brown v. Board of Education.
Retell the story at a grade appropriate level. Remember to make the story brief and interesting.
As an example, start by saying, "I am going to tell you a story of a little girl named Linda Brown. Linda was a normal little seven-year old girl who liked to play games with her sisters. Linda had to go to Monroe Elementary School because she was African-American. To walk to Monroe each day was sometime difficult, especially in the cold weather. Linda's father decided that Linda should be allowed to go to Sumner Elementary School because it was very close to her home. (continue the story)
Use the photos you've found. As you hold up each photo, ask the following questions. By moving from broad to specific in the questioning process, the students will grasp a better understanding.
Bring closure to the activity by asking students to think about how our country insures that all individuals are treated equally.
For additional resources to support this plan, including the story of Linda Brown, please go to the links listed in Terrific Technology for Teachers, specifically items 1, 2, and 3.
The Law-Related Education Inventory has the following items which might be useful in implementing the objectives of Law Day:
The Law-Related Education Inventory has many resources to help teach about law-related topics. To order a catalog, call Btissam Touijer at the Kansas Bar Association, (785) 234-5696. The Kansas Bar Association and the lawyers in your community sponsor the Law-Related Education Inventory. The clearinghouse will mail free copies of law-related posters, games, mock trials, booklets, lesson plans, and other aids. It is open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The director of the Teachers College Resource Center, which houses the Law-Related Education Inventory, Marla Darby, can be reached at Darbymar@esumail.emporia.edu/.
Law Wise is published by the Kansas Bar Association during the school year. The Kansas Bar Foundation, with Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts funding, provides support for this publication. Published free, on request, for teachers or anyone interested in law-related education, it is edited by Crystal Marietta, Pittsburg, (620) 231-5620. For further information about any projects or articles, contact Ron Keefover, Education and Information Officer of the Office of Judicial Administration, Topeka, (785) 296-4872, or Btissam Touijer, Public Services Director of the Kansas Bar Association, Topeka (785) 234-5696. Law Wise is printed at the Kansas Bar Association, 1200 Southwest Harrison, P.O. Box 1037, Topeka, Kansas 66601-1037.