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Judges, lawyers visit Missouri classrooms to discuss the law

Roger Ball teaches civics and military history at Aurora Middle School in Aurora, Missouri. Recently, his eighth-grade class studied privacy issues that arise under the Fourth Amendment. Ball’s students took great interest in the subject and were noticing news stories that touched on the matter.

To further cover the topic, Ball, a participant in The Missouri Bar’s workshops through the James Madison Legacy Project, invited Hon. Dan Scott, of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, to visit the classroom and discuss Fourth Amendment issues.

Ball said Scott’s guest appearance exceeded his expectations.

“The kids are still talking about the visit,” Ball said. “They want to see where he works the next time they are in session.”

Scott said he was equally pleased with how the day went.

“The pleasure was mine,” the appellate judge said. “Friendly and engaged children, welcoming teachers. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”

 Judge Scott stands with students

About 250 miles away in St. Louis, a similar visit took place at Soldan International Studies High School. There, American history and government teacher Joseph Kibler welcomed Michael Barrett to his AP government classroom. Barrett, director of the Missouri State Public Defender Program, discussed criminal justice issues with students, including the application of the Bill of Rights and the right to counsel, even when someone cannot afford it.

“This was an important way to illustrate how the content has real world and daily application,” said Kibler, who is also a James Madison Legacy Project scholar.

 Michael Barrett addresses students

From lesson plans to teacher workshops, The Missouri Bar is committed to helping Missouri teachers, like Ball and Kibler, better explain the law and justice system to Missouri students.

The Missouri Bar is the state coordinator for the James Madison Legacy Project, a three-year, nationwide initiative of the Center for Civic Education. The program is aimed at increasing the number of highly effective teachers through professional development and to increase the achievement of high-need students when it comes to state standards in civics and government. The James Madison Legacy Project is made possible by a generous grant from the U.S. Department of Education through the Supporting Effective Educator Development program. The Missouri Bar Citizenship Education Program has been awarded a sub-grant from the Center for Civic Education.

In addition, The Missouri Bar­—through the support of its members and with exceptional support from The Missouri Bar Foundation—provides extensive resources for classroom learning about the law, the legal system and the courts. Click here to learn more about the bar’s Citizenship Education Program and its opportunities for Missouri educators.

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