CU Law School students and alumni to teach high school students statewide about the Constitution

Published: Sept. 13, 2012

More than 75 students and dozens of alumni of the University of Colorado Law School will teach a lesson on the Fourth Amendment in more than 100 high school classrooms throughout Colorado the week of Sept. 17- 21 in recognition of Constitution Day.

Constitution Day is a national event that annually commemorates the Sept. 17, 1787, signing of the United States Constitution.

The students and alumni will visit classrooms in Aurora, Boulder, Carbondale, Colorado Springs, Denver, Glenwood Springs, Grand County, Greeley, Fort Collins, Longmont, Watkins and Wray as part of the Colorado Law School Constitution Day Project, launched in 2011 by the Byron White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law.

“The program was such a success last year that we have expanded it significantly for 2012 and hope to continue that expansion in future years,” said Melissa Hart, associate professor of law and director of the Byron White Center. “We are particularly pleased to be able to visit schools all over the state, and will maintain that priority as we expand.

“Our students and alumni are excited about the opportunity to work with high school students and teachers, and to contribute to the important goal of broadening public constitutional literacy.”

The lesson plan, which was created by law students with the guidance of Hart and several high school civics teachers, begins with a review of the basic structure of the Constitution and then focuses on the text of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures of private property by the government. After reviewing the law, students will be guided through a debate about whether a school’s search of a student’s text messages violated the student’s constitutional rights.

In the first year of the project in 2011, the center sent 60 law students to over 50 high school classrooms to teach a lesson, which was followed by student debates involving a hypothetical situation that applied the First Amendment to a student Facebook posting.