This last week, I had the pleasure of teaching 150 second grade students from the Kent Gardens Elementary School in McLean Virginia. This was the final three such field trip to the law school by the second, third, and sixth grade class to learn about the Constitution and the law. They sat as the jury in a trial of the Big Bad Wolf (“B.B. Wolf”). What my students and I heard from the students was hilarious, particularly their understanding of the Constitution.
I have long been critical of the loss of civics classes in elementary and middle schools. Over the years in speeches, I have suggested that public schools rely on local law schools as a possible resource for such classes. Fairfax County called my bluff and scheduled three classes of 150 students each to visit George Washington Law School. With about two dozen student and staff volunteers, we put on a mock trial based on the three little pigs as well as a forensic class for each visit.
During the classes, I would ask the students what rights are contained in the Constitution. This week, the first three answers given by the second graders were:
1. “The right not to be bullied.”
2. “The right to drive at age 16.”
3. “The right to buy things on the Internet when you are 18.”
After the trial, the sixth graders were particularly suspicious of the surviving pig, Curly Pig who was the chief witness against B.B. Wolf in the double murder (and attempted murder) trial. One student asked “if Curly Pig was so upset about her brothers being eaten, why did she pick turnips and bake a pie after they were eaten.” Another sixth grader asked “why is the builder liable for building houses that fall down and kill people.” The sixth graders then acquitted B.B. Wolf. It is enough to bring tears to the eyes of a criminal defense attorney.