Class at law school allows students to discuss rights

Priyanka Shrijay, Opinion Editor

On Monday nights, eight U-High students head to law school. They join eight students from the U. of C. Woodlawn charter school for “The Constitutional Rights of Minors from the Minors’ Point of View,” instructed by law professor Emily Buss and assisted by law students. Each session focuses on a different Supreme Court case.

During the class,Woodlawn and Lab students benefit from each others’ different points of view coming from a charter and private school. While public charter school students at Woodlawn have constitutionally protected rights, private school students at Lab are not guaranteed those rights. Nonetheless, Lab’s policies on freedom of expression are influenced by the Constitution.

History teacher Christy Gerst is the supervising teacher from Lab.

She said high school students, law students and Professor Buss spend a little bit of time discussing the Supreme Court case before they break into small groups to discuss and debate hypothetical scenarios.

According to Yael Rolnik, a junior, the class first studied the free speech case Tinker v. Des Moines. They discussed its current relevance such as the right of students to kneel at sports games. In addition to Tinker v. Des Moines, they have since discussed Bethel School District v. Fraser, Lee v. Weisman and Goss v. Lopez. As a yearbook journalist, Yael found these free speech cases particularly interesting.

Ms. Gerst said for the students, there are three primary values in taking Professor Buss’s class: exposure to a possible career pathway, the opportunity to deeply consider Constitutional rights and their applications in schools and the deliberation over others’ viewpoints.

For Yael, the class offers her a new outlook on a career in law and teaches her about her constitutional rights as a student.