Colorado Law Students and Alumni Teach High School Students about the Constitution

December 3, 2012

The White Center’s Colorado Law Constitution Day Project celebrated Constitution Day, September 17, by teaching high school students about the Constitution. In its second year, the Constitution Day Project, brought 80 Colorado Law students and alumni, 30 local attorneys, and several Colorado Law faculty to over 100 high school classrooms around the state of Colorado to give a presentation about the Fourth Amendment. The dedicated volunteers visited high schools throughout the Denver-Boulder area, and some traveled as far as Carbondale, Colorado Springs, Glenwood Springs, Greeley, Fort Collins, Watkins, and Wray.

The lesson plan, which was created by the White Center and vetted by Denver Public School teachers, focused on the Fourth Amendment and how students’ rights change while they are at school. At the end of the presentation students were given the opportunity to apply the legal concepts they had learned to a hypothetical case involving a student’s expectation of privacy in the contents of his cell phone.

Ms. Kaitlyn Gentert, a social studies teacher at Erie High School, explained that she participated in the project because she teaches the Constitutional foundation of our nation’s political system in class. Describing the presentation as “engaging,” “instructional,” and “invaluable for her students,” Gentert stated that she looks forward to having presenters come back to her class next year.

Gentert’s positive evaluation of the project is not unique. According to a survey administered by the White Center, 100 percent of teachers who responded indicated that they would participate in the project again next year and would recommend it to a colleague.

Presenters also had overwhelmingly positive feedback about their experiences. Almost all presenters who responded to a White Center survey indicated that they plan to volunteer again next year.

For Jocelyn Jenks (’12), who has volunteered as a presenter since the project launched in September 2011, teaching high school students about the Constitution is something she considers to be her professional responsibility. “I plan to continue my involvement with the Constitution Day Project,” Jenks explained, “because I believe that an important part of being a lawyer is giving back to your community.”

Tags: Byron White Center, Constitution day, community engagement, community outreach, students, alumni