Summer SAVY 2017, Session 1/Day 1- Introduction to Law (Rising 6th/7th)
Today, in Introduction to Law, students were first taught about how our court systems work, the different levels, (i.e. trial courts, intermediate/appellate courts, and highest/supreme courts) and how cases work their way through those levels. They learned that cases start in the trial courts which are courts of general jurisdiction, and that cases go to the next levels if they are being appealed due to an unsatisfactory result. Along with that, they also learned about the concept of precedent and how the upper level courts, especially the U.S. Supreme Court, make decisions that become binding for the courts beneath them.
I thought it was also important to throw them right into case law, just as we were in law school, and they absolutely arose to the occasion! The first U.S. Supreme Court case that we discussed was the Tinker v. Des Moines School District case, a free speech case in which students were protesting the Vietnam War through the wearing of black armbands, and for which they were suspended. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and it was found that the students’ free speech rights were being violated. The students read this case on their own and afterwards, as a class, we discussed the case, the facts, the procedural history, and also what certain words meant. Students then took part in a fiery debate in which they debated whether or not the Court had made the right decision in Tinker.
Finally, we ended a jam packed day by working in groups of three and four. Each group selected a different U.S. Supreme Court case to read and analyze. Groups are retrieving the facts, holding, and procedural history from the case. Also, tomorrow, each group will do a presentation/skit or something else creative to illustrate the major concepts of their case.
Mrs. Goins, JD