Celebrate Civic Rights in the Classroom!
With Martin Luther King Day coming up next week, it's a great time to introduce the concept of civic rights in the classroom or homeschool.
Kids are great at detecting when something isn't fair. Pair their innate sense of rightness with an activity from our newest ebook, Democracy and Civic Unrest: Teach Kids "Be the Change" to explore what it means to practice peaceful civic unrest.
Investigate Civil Rights
Even students have the power to change their government, or to protest when they think that their constitutional rights have been violated. This activity will show you how a group of students can make a difference.
• Research the Supreme Court case of Tinker v. Des Moines. Students were able to prove in court that their constitutional rights were violated when they were not allowed to wear black armbands in school to protest the Vietnam War.
Try these sites for more information:
• Imagine that you and a small group of friends have decided to protest a school policy. For example, imagine you wanted to protest against a policy that does not allow same-sex couples to attend the prom together. You are wearing rainbow ribbons and asking other students to sign a petition supporting your protest. The school’s administration threatens to suspend you if you don’t stop your protest.
• Write a letter to the school board in which you present your case. You are arguing why it is within your constitutional rights to protest against the school policy. Can you find and cite section(s) of the Constitution that pertain to your case? Can you find examples of other well-known court cases with similar situations?
• Now imagine that the school board has called you into a meeting to present your case. Write a statement or speech to read in order to convince them to change the policy.
To investigate more, think of other ways you can protest the school’s policy. What can you do to present your objections in a meaningful and noticeable way?