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Making Civics Real Workshop 8: Rights and Responsibilities of Students  
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Workshop 7

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Teacher Perspectives
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Student Perspectives: Role-playing as the Justices

Green: I was the Chief Justice today. I asked questions of the petitioner and the respondent and I tried to keep the Court moving along and keep it from getting too heated. I tried to make sure that everything flowed. Coming into the case, I didn't know that I would be directing things. I sort of just fell into that role but it didn't really change the way I looked at things. During the deliberations, we tried to get everyone's opinion out, make sure that everyone understood all of the facts, and each person tried to influence others to come to their side. In the end, we decided that we weren't going to come to a united decision, so we decided to have a majority and a dissenting opinion. The first vote was just to gauge where everyone is coming from. I believe it was five to four in favor of the respondent. After the vote, everyone gave their statement of what they saw as the issue and why they were ruling the way that they were. The second vote was to determine who was going to be the majority [and] who was going to be with the dissent. We had one sustaining [member] who didn't vote. After all the issues came out, people started to understand the case more clearly. It kind of switched. We had five in favor of the petitioner and three in favor of the respondent.

Otis: My role today was one of the Supreme Court Justices. Basically, I always play the role of the hard judge, trying to throw a monkey wrench at everybody's case so [they] won't know whose side I really agree with. By using constitutional laws, I try to be psychological to disrupt you. That's why I ask questions that most of the time don't even pertain to law--just to see how well you flow. Because I'm an only child, I learned to view people and watch people closely. I think I got to develop that skill quickly. Hearing you say things and the way you say things tells me a lot. I think it's harder for me to actually come out and speak because I really am a shy person.


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