Constitution Day and the ACLU
The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties offers for its seventh year a program that engages hundreds of volunteer attorneys who bring the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights to life for thousands of San Diego County middle and high school students in a nonpartisan, interactive program to celebrate Constitution Day, September 17.
In 2012, 200+ attorneys and civic leaders volunteered to present to classrooms on September 17th. Scores of history and government teachers in more than 400 classes in thirteen school districts hosted speakers, who reached more than 15,000 middle and high school students. The attorneys came from the offices of the U.S. Attorney, City Attorney, District Attorney, Public Defender, Federal Defenders, Appellate Defenders, law professors, and partners and associates from the city’s largest law firms, as well as private practitioners.
Students at High Tech High were dazzled by a deeply personal and riveting lecture by Star Trek actor and civil rights activist, George Takei. Takei spoke of his experiences as a Japanese American being interned, and of his decades long struggle for marriage equality and LGBT rights.
Each Constitution Day speaker is free to develop her/his own presentations, though the ACLU provides optional background on kid-friendly cases and resources. The students love it, because the speakers talk about real cases and issues that kids face, and they get to debate these important questions. The attorneys love it, because most haven’t had the chance to discuss constitutional law since law school.