to Law Wise home page
Greetings from the Kansas Supreme Court and the Kansas Bar Association. The theme for this edition of Law Wise is Law-Related Education in the Classroom and the Community.
Calendar of Events
Law-Related Education: Organizations and Resources For Your Community
As we settle into the 2002-03 school year, it is a good time to discuss the strategies and programs law-related education strives to provide to schools and communities, as well as gain familiarity with some of the organizations that provide that assistance. Law-related education does not fit neatly within any definition but aims to provide resources for understanding our legal system, our laws, and concepts of justice, equality, liberty, and diversity to engage students and teach them to be good citizens. These skills, attitude, and knowledge are vital to our youth to understand and participate in a democratic society and aid in teaching conflict resolution, reducing truancy and discipline problems, and providing safer schools for our teachers and students.
Youth for Justice (YFJ) is a national, law-related education (LRE) program supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), and is compromised of five national law-related organizations:
The ABA Division of Public Education provides resources for educators, students, attorneys, and law enforcement aimed at educating the public about the legal system and providing services to the community. The ABA encourages attorneys to volunteer in the classroom and in the community through classroom interaction, youth courts, mentoring, after-school programs, and leading discussions on relevant issues to the community, to name a few. The ABA also provides several publications and sponsor events aimed at reaching these goals.
The CCE seeks to foster the development of informed, responsible participation in civic life by citizens committed to values and principles fundamental to American constitutional democracy. The Center sponsors several programs including We the People…Project Citizen and The Citizen and the Constitution. Project Citizen is a middle school civic education program designed to develop interest in public policymaking and informed participation in government. The Citizen and the Constitution is an instructional program on the history and principles of American constitutional democracy for elementary, middle, and high school students.
The CRF is dedicated to helping America's young people become engaged and participatory citizens and understand the rule of law, the legal process, and their constitutional heritage. CRF provides a variety of free resources such as newsletters and publications, as well as programs and training including, among others, Lawyer in the Classroom, Summer Law Institute for teachers, Youth and Police, and Youth Leadership for Action.
PAD PSC is a legal fraternity whose purpose is to provide service to the student, the school, the legal profession and the community and to form a strong bond uniting students and teachers of the law with members of the Bench and Bar. PAD PSC provides lesson plans to teachers and is active in the National Youth Court Program. Youth Court (also known as teen courts and peer courts) is a program that allows juvenile offenders to be sentenced by a court comprised of their peers, allowing juvenile offenders to be held accountable for their actions, promote restorative justice principles, educate youth on the legal system, empower youth to be active participants in community problem solving, and build good character traits in young people.
Street Law, Inc. provides practical, participatory education about law, democracy, and human rights that enables people to transform democratic ideals into citizen action. Street Law provides training and assistance for programs such as Street Law, which is a practical law textbook, Parents and the Law, which is designed to give parents information about legal rights and responsibilities relevant to their families, and Police as Community Teachers, which is designed to improve communication and relations between law enforcement and the general public.
The Kansas Citizen and Law Education program, a joint project of the Kansas Supreme Court and the Kansas Bar Association works individually and collectively with the partners of Youth for Justice to offer a variety of LRE programs for school and community groups, including among others the Street Law curriculum, CRF's VOICE, youth court, and is now implementing a new one for Kansas called Teens, Parents, and the Law. We, of course, also bring you this newsletter.
Visit our Terrific Technology for Teachers below for these organizations' websites and related materials. Also, if would like any additional information on these organizations or programs that are available, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will locate materials relevant to your interests.
Every spring, the Kansas Bar Association Young Lawyer's Division (KBA YLD) offers a statewide mock trial competition to high school students. This year's tournament will offer several regionals across the state, culminating in a state tournament in which the winner will advance to the national tournament.
The National High School Mock Trial competition began in 1984, and offered students simulated courtroom experience with real lawyers available who will volunteer to help coach their teams. Additionally, lawyers and law professionals will act as the judge and jury during the tournaments. Students in the debate, forensics, government, speech, drama or gifted programs would find this tournament worthwhile and exciting.
Teams for this competition consist of six to eight students and the school can enter as many teams as they would like. Registration fees are minimal, starting at $50.00 for the first team, with $25.00 for each additional team. However, in no event is any school required to pay more that $200.00, no matter the number of teams entered.
The regional tournaments will take place on February 28 - March 1, 2003, and the state tournament will occur on March 21-22, 2003. Registration forms will be available in the near future on the internet, along with a question-and-answer message board, FAQ's, helpful information and several other features which we will be developing. More information will be available in future issues of Law Wise.
Eric G. Kraft is the director for the tournament this year and can be reached via telephone at (913) 451-5109 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact him or Btissam Hmamouch, KBA Public Services Director at (785) 234-5696 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Constitution grants us rights, but without courts the Constitution might just be a quaint document on parchment. It is the courts that enforce the Constitution, protect our rights as Americans, and make the rule of law a reality.
Law Day can help people understand that "independent" courts are fair, impartial, and dedicated to the rule of law. Through Law Day, we can stress the importance of courts and judges free from political interference.
Every Law Day, we try to help Americans understand how our freedoms depend on our great system of law. On this Law Day, let's help our fellow citizens appreciate that judicial independence is "the most essential characteristic of a free society." In a democracy, no one--no matter how powerful--is above the law, as long as judges have the authority to apply the law impartially and fairly.Time to Start Planning:
Here are just a few key dates you need to know to start your planning.
The 7th Annual National Photography Contest for students ages 12-18. This contest gives students a chance to submit original photos that depict the Law Day theme. Prizes include national recognition, inclusion in a photo exhibit, U.S. savings bonds and educational materials. Winner of this prestigious contest receives the award in Washington, DC, as part of Law Day 2003.
Oct.-Dec. 2002: Guidelines available from ABA
Feb. 15, 2003: Postmark deadline for entries.
For more information please visit www.abanet.org/publiced/imagescontest/home.html
Go to this address www.abanet.org/publiced/lawday/ldform.html and fill out the form to receive a FREE Law Day Planning Guide and Resource Guide.
Oct. 2002 - April 2003: Guide distributed and available online
Feb. 15, 2003: Catalog orders postmarked by this date receive 10% discount
March 15, 2003: Catalog orders postmarked by this date receive 5% discount
Please visit www.lawday.org for more detailed information. The website has a wealth of Law Day information.
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 email@example.com.
The Law-Related Education Inventory has the following items which might be useful in implementing law-related topics in the classroom:
The Law-Related Education Inventory has many resources to help teach about law-related topics. To order a catalog, call Btissam Hmamouch 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/
The five organizations compromising Youth for Justice discussed in the article Law-Related Education: Organizations and Resources For Your Community can be found on the web at the following sites:
Each of these websites contain valuable information about the programs and services they offer, as well as lesson plans and other curriculums.
Grade Level: Middle and high school
This lesson plan has been adapted from the Center for Civil Education website at http://www.civiced.org, specifically from the textbook, Foundations of Democracy: Authority, Privacy, Responsibility, and Justice. The lesson below is taken from the teacher's guide located at http://www.civiced.org/fod_ms_auth02_tg.html. The student text referenced in the lesson can be found at http://www.civiced.org/fod_ms_auth02_sb.html.
This lesson illustrates problems that are likely to arise in the absence of effective authority. Students examine the problems created by a lack of effective authority described in Mark Twain's Roughing It. They learn that we use authority to protect our rights, to provide order and security, to manage conflict, and to distribute the benefits and burdens of society. In a final exercise, students examine how authority was used to include female students in the athletic program at an imaginary school.
At the conclusion of this lesson, students should be able to do the following:
Student text pp. 7 - 10 (which can be found at http://www.civiced.org/fod_ms_auth02_sb.html).
A. Introducing the Lesson
Ask the class to imagine participating in a football game, or any other game, without any rules of play. Ask students to identify problems that might arise. Record their responses on the board. Ask students if they would want to participate in such a game. Explain that during this lesson the class will examine some problems likely to arise in situations where there is an absence of rules or other effective authority.
While you post the "Terms to Know" on the board, have students read "Purpose of Lesson" on p. 7 of the student text.
B. Reading and Discussion
What might happen if there were no authority?
Have the class read "What might happen if there were no authority?" on p. 7 of the text. Ask the students to respond to the questions in the "What do you think?" section.
C. Critical Thinking Exercise
Identifying Uses of Authority
Have students work with a study partner to complete the critical thinking exercise, "Identifying Uses of Authority," on p. 7 of the student text. The reading selection from Mark Twain's Roughing It describes a chain of events that occurred in the Old West when two men sought to avenge the assassination of their friend. Read the directions for completing the exercise with the class and review the questions in "Examining the Situation" on p. 8 of the student text. Ask students to share their responses with the class.
Conclude this part of the lesson by asking students to identify contemporary problems that stem from an absence of effective authority. Students might suggest such problems as latch-key kids, vandalism, or gang violence. Encourage students to suggest ways that authority might help solve these problems.
D. Reading and Discussion
How can we use authority?
Have the class read "How can we use authority?" on p. 8 of the text. Ask students to identify ways we use authority to protect our rights to life, liberty, and property. Record their responses on the board. Their responses should include the following:
Ask students to cite examples from the reading or their experience that illustrate each use of authority.
E. Critical Thinking Exercise
Identifying Problems Related to Authority
Have the class work in groups of three students to complete the critical thinking exercise, "Identifying Problems Related to Authority," on p. 9 of the student text. The reading selection, "A Problem at Pacific Central High," describes how one school used authority to create an athletic program that included female students. Read the directions with the class and review the questions in "Examining the Situation" on p. 10. Ask students to share their responses with the class. Some responses students might give include the following:
What problems occurred at Pacific Central High School several years ago?
Students should recall the following:
How was authority used to deal with these problems?
Students should recall that Congress passed legislation requiring schools that receive government money should provide both boys and girls equal opportunities in all school programs. The State Department of Education began checking to make sure that schools were obeying this new law.
What problems at Pacific Central still have not been solved?
Students should recall the following:
How might authority be used to deal with these problems?
Students should be encouraged to suggest and explain various possible solutions, such as the following:
How can you work to promote changes in a situation like this one?
Students might suggest the following:
Help students think of examples in their school or community where young people have helped to solve problems when there was a lack of authority.
F. Concluding the Lesson
Direct attention to the illustrations on pp. 8 and 9 of the text. Ask students to respond to the captions:
Have students re-read "Purpose of Lesson" on p. 7 of the text. Ask them to describe the extent to which they achieved the objectives of the lesson.
Using the Lesson
The activities suggested in "Using the Lesson" on p. 10 of the text reinforce or extend the information students learned about the use of authority. You may have the students work individually or in small groups to complete each of the suggested activities. Have students share their work with the class.
Grade Level: High school
Overview: What does one mean by the word "government?" What first comes to mind might be the United States Capitol in Washington D.C., your state capitol, or even your local city hall. Others may interpret government as being the elected officials (president, congressmen and congresswomen, state representatives, mayors, and councilmen) that represent it. Many others see law enforcement officers and the rules and regulations they enforce as being government. Finally, some may view government as being the closest authority over them--school officials (teachers) and the rules they must enforce.
Purpose: The intent of this activity is to introduce students to the meaning of the word "government." The students will examine why society needs a government to exist. The activity can also serve as an introduction to exploring the foundations of American democracy and government: The Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.
Objectives: Students will be able to:
TO BE FREE, ONE MUST BE CHAINED.
Have the students take 5-10 minutes to write down what this statement represents in a half-page or less. After completion, have each student read his/her paper while listing the main points under the statement on the chalkboard.
Have the students answer the following questions:
(These two questions may be used as a homework assignment)
The Foundations of American Government:
Tying All Together: Finish with a discussion about what a perfect society consists of. Help the students understand that if a society could function without a government (Anarchy), it would only work as long as every person is in total cooperation with every other person. This is unlikely, and therefore, a government, for the people, is absolutely necessary.
This lesson plan was contributed by Mark W. Dean, Capital High School, Santa Fe, NM and located on the web at http://ofcn.org/cyber.serv/academy/ace/soc/cecsst/cecsst004.html. The root website can be found at http://ofcn.org/cyber.serv/academy/ace/soc/high.html.
Grade level: Upper elementary
Graphics note: The computerized version of this lesson plan does not contain graphics that appear in the original paper version. These graphics may or may not be necessary for successful implementation of the lesson. To obtain the graphics, order the paper version of the lesson. Brief description of graphics in this lesson: sample advertisement (1 page).
Description of Lesson: In this lesson, students read the Constitution in order to find qualifications for the Presidency, a Senator and a Representative. They use the information to write advertisements for those positions. Students should have had some preliminary study of the Constitution.
Goal: Students will become aware that the Constitution sets requirements for important positions and will use their knowledge of the Constitution to find information. This awareness will contribute to their appreciation of the Constitution as a living document.
Materials: Copies of the Constitution for all students, pencils, paper, classified advertisements from the newspaper.
Procedure: Using a newspaper the teacher reads an advertisement for a position. It should name the position and list qualifications. Then the teacher explains that the class is going to write advertisements for the Presidency, Senators, and Representatives. They will find out what the qualifications must be by reading the Constitution. If the students will need more help, the teacher can guide the class to do one of them together. Then the other two may be assigned to all the students or to groups. The completed advertisements may be displayed.
If desired, as an extension, the students may be encouraged to add other qualifications needed beside the basic requirements. When the work is completed, ask the following questions:
As a further extension, students could be asked to write job descriptions.
Evaluation: Students may wish to comment on the ads when they are displayed. The teacher may evaluate each advertisement to determine if students found the information needed in the Constitution.
Time Required: One to two class periods
This lesson plan can be found at The National Constitution Center's Warren E. Burger Repository of Lesson Plans at http://www.constitutioncenter.org/sections/teacher/lesson_plans/html/40409ag.asp. The National Constitution Center's website can be accessed at http://www.constitutioncenter.org.
The lesson was contributed to the National Constitution Center by Meredith Tarver Henderson, Johnson Elementary School, Franklin, Tennessee and George Roberts, Charles E. Brown Jr. High, Newton Centre, Massachusetts.
The Kansas Court of Appeals, a ten-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, and Wichita in November. The Topeka hearings will be Nov. 20 in the Court of Appeals Courtroom in the Judicial Center. The Kansas City hearings will be Nov. 19 in the Wyandotte County Courthouse, and the Wichita hearings will be Nov. 19 and 20.
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 weeks beginning Oct. 21 and Dec. 4, 2002; and Jan. 21, Mar. 3, Apr. 14, and May 27, 2003.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Hmamouch, 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.