Last year our education program reached 41 different schools from all 16 counties. We did this through a combination of three student conferences in the fall and more than 20 classroom visits during the spring semester. This year we’re hoping to increase that number even more, and with most high schools a week away from midterms we’ve been busy getting ready to hit the road as soon as the spring semester begins.
Over the years we’ve built up a strong reputation with teachers around the state who host us each and every spring. Still, we’re always conscious that there are more schools out there that might benefit from a lesson on civil liberties or civil rights, but aren’t aware that there’s a non-profit in Maine that provides these lessons for free. We do as much as we can to reach out to schools and offer our services, but sometimes word-of-mouth goes a lot farther.
If you’re a teacher, a student, a parent, or just a community member interested in what we do, please feel free to contact me to learn more about the ACLU’s education program. Everything we offer is free to schools and we’re always willing to customize our lessons to fit the needs of teachers. We have a few standard presentations that cover the Bill of Rights and how it directly affects students, but we’ve also given talks by request in recent years on topics like religious freedom, LGBT rights, racial profiling, banned books, and capital punishment. Basically, as long as it deals with civil liberties we’re happy to come and talk with students about it.
We’ve also been working recently to put more educational resources up on our website. If you navigate to the “Education” section of this website you’ll find a set of lesson plans that we use for our student conferences each fall. These plans are available for free and in the future we’ll be adding more resources here on our website for both teachers and students that will supplement our work in schools.
Last year we traveled well over 4,000 miles in the spring semester alone. We went up north to Fort Kent, Houlton, Greenville, and Dover-Foxcroft. We headed east and visited Machias, Jonesport-Beals, and Searsport. We went as far south as York and hit schools all throughout southern and central Maine too. In short, no matter where you are in the state of Maine, we’ll make the drive if you’ve got students who want to learn about their civil liberties and civil rights.
We’ve got our first school visit of the new year on Wednesday, and we’re excited to keep it rolling from there. If you want us to visit your school – or you know someone else who might – please give me a call at 774-5444 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to talk with you at length about what we offer and how we might help students in your area better understand and appreciate the Bill of Rights.