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  Workshop 8: Rights and Responsibilities of Students  
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Workshop 7

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Lesson Plan
Teacher Perspectives
Student Perspectives
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Student Perspectives: Lessons learned

Dana: After taking this class, I feel more a part of my country. I know that voting is an important matter. I received my voter registration card not too long ago, and when I received it, the first person I showed it to in the school was Mr. Johnson. Because of this class, I'm more aware of my rights and what is and what is not acceptable in society--the rules that should and should not be broken, the loopholes. I know that if it came time for me to speak out against something that I feel is wrong and against a law, I wouldn't be afraid to do that because I have some kind of ground to fall back on. I'm more aware of what's going on around me. I've become more interested in the politics of this country and I honestly believe that had I not taken the class I wouldn't be prepared to do that, maybe not until later on in college.

Green: We focused a lot on the rights and the responsibilities of students and how that related to the Constitution. A lot of times the rights of students are abridged because you have to protect the school as a whole. You have to be concerned about disrupting the peace, causing material or substantial disruption, creating danger for other students, having drugs or other illegal contraband within the school, and things like that. It's sort of opened my eyes and allowed me to see what's actually going on. I understand more clearly now that by taking an active role, I can influence things, and I've learned a lot about the justice system. It's also given me a chance to look at law and I've even been considering law as a profession. So it's really given me options for the future. It's allowed me to understand what my rights are as a student, as an individual, [and as an] adult--how to participate and be active without going overboard, how not to infringe on others.

Kayeen: Before this class, I literally had no idea what my rights were. Everybody knows freedom of speech, freedom of religion. A lot of high school students can say it, but they haven't comprehended it. Being in this class, reading the cases, and going through what freedom of speech actually means, why it's not as broad for you as it is for someone who is out of school, reading cases about religion and the Civil Rights movement, gives you more of an understanding as to what your rights as an American are. It also gives you a sense of power because the fact that these children, who were no older than you, [identified] something that they felt was wrong constitutionally, brought suit, and went to the Supreme Court, [means] that [if] something happens to me, I can actually do something about it.

Latia: In this class, we learn our [rights] as students. Just because you're a student doesn't mean you have to do everything that adults say. If you go to school, and the teacher kicks you out of the class for some reason, you have a right to go and talk to a higher authority and fight your case in a non-violent way, in a civilized way. When I started this class, I knew we had rights, but I didn't know there are cases that students took to courts. I feel like I know the history, and what I can do, so I feel I can speak out more to the higher authority in the school building. By showing me how to do [that] as a student, I know that when I step into the real world, I'll be able to handle these things.

Otis: I would like to be a politician. Because of my skills, I would like to be a public servant. I would like to be a foreign diplomat [and] go to other countries and deal with America as a country, [its] relations, especially [to] countries like Cuba, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel. I just feel like I was set on earth to basically help one person, and that's what I want to do. If I help more, I'm glad.

Troy: Just because we are in school and are students, we should have the same rights that we do outside the school building. I know we can't get them all, because we are in like a state-run institution and we have to shed a few of the rights. But we should not lose all of our inalienable rights just because we're in a school.

Zaneta: As a citizen, I realize that I have more rights than I ever thought I had. I have a voice and I can speak up. As a student, I don't have as many rights as I thought I had because I thought I had the same rights outside as inside and that I could do whatever I wanted to because I'm 18. But it's not the same. When we're in school, I believe it's called in loco parentis, meaning that they are like our parents. So I really learned a lot on both being a citizen outside of school and being a student inside of school.


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