Shaare Torah Girls Elementary Seventh Graders’ Constitution Program
On June 5th and 6th the seventh grade of Shaare Torah Girls Elementary School had their day in court. This was the culmination of their studies about the United States government and how the Constitution works.
Working together with the Justice Resource Center the seventh graders became well versed in constitutional law. After studying First Amendment cases the students had the unique opportunity to role play their cases in federal court.
Parents were invited, and this reporter went together with the students, their principal, Mrs. Devirah Greenfield, and their teacher, Mrs. Rosler. Parents were waiting at the courthouse steps.
On entering the majestic Federal Bankruptcy Courthouse, Eastern District, students assumed their chosen roles. Each of the students had researched and developed her role, weighing the importance of freedom of the press versus the national security of the United States.
We witnessed our community girls take real life roles: justices, chief justice, and attorneys for both sides. We watched as the case of Denver Dispatch vs. the US Government was reenacted.
The justices wore robes and the chief justice had a gavel. The attorneys and the justices were quickly admitted into the US Bar, allowing them to present a case in a federal courthouse. Our court guide knocked three times on the justices’ chambers to signal them to come in to court. We all rose. The case began.
The case itself had to do with what the media is allowed to print during times of warfare. What is considered endangering the security of the country and the armed forces, and what is the fine line between freedom of speech, the First Amendment, and irresponsible journalism?
Examples from similar cases were brought by both sides. Final statements were made.
After much deliberation the justices’ decision was to be announced back in school.
The girls enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to have such an incredible hands-on experience.
Student Sophia Jemal said, “It is important to know how a court case works since we will have to do jury duty when we are older.” Fellow student Ruthy Mayor said, “The entire experience was very educational, and I might want to be a lawyer one day.”
Most of the girls echoed the above sentiments and are grateful for the excellent education at Shaare Torah Girls Elementary School.