The Supreme Court is in the news today, as Judge Neil Gorsuch was officially announced last night as the president’s nominee to fill Antonin Scalia’s vacant seat. Looking to emphasize the importance of the court in my students’ lives, I launched a discussion last week about the upcoming changes to the bench and what rights minors do/don’t have in the U.S.
Focusing on the ten cases listed below, small groups were assigned to learn about a specific case and report their findings in a full-class discussion. You’re welcome to grab a FREE set of those materials here, which also includes an option for students to complete the research as a solo project or homework assignment.
Cases covered include:
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District (Freedom of speech at school)
New Jersey v. T.L.O. (Privacy rights at school)
Ingraham v. Wright (Physical discipline of students)
Santa Fe Independent School District v. Jane Doe (School prayer)
Kent v. United States (Trying juveniles as adults in cases of serious crimes)
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (Student journalism and the First Amendment)
Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton (Student athletes and drug testing)
West Side Community Schools v. Mergens (Religious-based student clubs)
Grutter v. Bollinger (Affirmative action in college admissions)
DeShaney v. Winnebago County Social Services (Constitutional rights at home)
This lesson, which dovetailed nicely with our conclusion of To Kill a Mockingbird, definitely opened some eyes and stirred some passion. Hope it inspires your students, too, to keep their eyes open as our nation pursues blind justice. Teach on, everyone!