Visiting schools around the state to teach students about the Constitution is one of the most enjoyable things we do at the ACLU of Maine. It’s exhilarating to explore the Bill of Rights with high school students who are just beginning to grapple with complex issues like free speech, equal protection, and the legality of police searches. It’s exciting to hear their ideas and answer their questions. This year, we’re especially psyched because we have so many new things to discuss with students that will help bring the Constitution alive and showcase for them just how important a centuries-old document can still be today.
Every year we travel the state and present workshops on a variety of topics. We’ll go anywhere in Maine, and our appearances are always free. This year, we’re excited to add a new workshop to our catalog. With last year’s passage of the anti-bullying bill, students will begin to see changes in their school when it comes to bullying. In our new workshop, we’ll educate them about what the new law says, and why its protections are rooted in the Constitution and the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.
In addition to this new lesson, we’ve also updated our other curriculum so that we aren’t just presenting the Bill of Rights as you’d find it in an old textbook. With real life cases from the past year integrated into our existing workshops, we have fresh examples of civil liberties issues that will get young people thinking critically. We never tell students what side to take on a particular issue, but we do hope to make them as excited about the Constitution as we are.
If you are interested in having the ACLU of Maine visit your classroom this spring, please contact me at 774-5444 or I’d be happy to tell you more about the workshops we offer and to schedule a visit.