Design Lab students have their day in court
Cleveland Metropolitan School Distict’s Design Lab students had a day in court this winter when their social studies teacher Anthony Simeone took them to the Carl B. Stokes U.S. Courthouse.
On the field trip, the sophomores toured the judge’s chambers and observed the legal system in action. They witnessed Federal Judge Dan Polster sentence two criminals, preside over a naturalization ceremony and discuss First Amendment rights’ court cases with Common Pleas Judge Holly Gallagher and Attorney Jim Satola.
The field trip was part of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s 3Rs Program, which addresses “Rights, Responsibilities and Realities.” Using a real-world curriculum focused on the U.S. Constitution, the 3Rs calls upon volunteers in the legal profession to work with 10th-grade social studies classes. The goal is to improve understanding of the law and U.S. Constitution, provide career counseling to focus students on their potential beyond high school and improve the number of minorities entering legal careers.
This is the fifth time Simeone has organized a field trip to Judge Polster's courtroom. “Each group of students I’ve taken always leaves the courthouse wanting more. Judge Polster graciously allows them a firsthand look into the life of a federal judge, taking the kids from the moving moments during a naturalization ceremony through the difficult decisions he makes when it comes to sentencing an individual. It really is an emotional journey that the kids go on, all in the span of a few hours.”
Simeone is planning a sixth trip for a group of 10th-graders and some upperclassmen on Jan. 27 to Judge Gallagher’s Court of Common Pleas courtroom. Trips like these, he said, help his students gain respect for legal professionals and the court system.
“The 3Rs Program highlights some of the key amendments in the Bill of Rights that directly influence our actions on a daily basis. A trip like this allows the students to see theory put into practice,” he said. “It allows them to see how poor decisions early in life can come back to haunt them later.”
Simeone hopes the trip is as much of an eye-opener for his students as it is for him. “Since I’ve been doing these field trips, it seems as if every defendant who is convicted didn’t finish high school, turned to drugs and other vices at an early age and had a series of mistakes that put him or her in the hands of the court system early on.”
For more information on the 3Rs go to http://www.clemetrobar.org/3Rs or
click here to watch an introductory video to The 3Rs.