Judge engages students in learning about law
Judge Daniel B. Shanes of the 19th Circuit Court talks with students in Mundelein High School's AP American Government and Politics class. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 17, 2012 10:16AM
MUNDELEIN — Circuit Court Judge Daniel B. Shanes and the Illinois Judges Association recently partnered with Mundelein High School to create an increased interest among students studying government and the law.
Shanes spent 90 minutes with Tom Kuhn’s Advanced Placement American Government and Politics class Sept. 12, according to an MHS press release.
“Students learn legal concepts best when they can actively engage and participate with actual case materials,” Shanes said. “But for high school students studying our legal system, ‘engaging’ might not necessarily be the first word that comes to mind. So what better way to bring the judicial process to life for students than to bring a real live judge to the classroom?”
The IJA program, Bringing the Courtroom to the Classroom, focuses on a U.S. Supreme Court case that decided a Fourth Amendment issue that generates strong student opinions: Is it constitutional for school officials to search students’ possessions at school without a warrant?
The case involves a female student caught smoking in a school bathroom. The principal searched the student’s purse and found marijuana, paraphernalia and money, implicating the student in dealing the drug. The student claimed the search violated her Fourth Amendment rights, the judge said.
During the class, Shanes provided an overview of the court system followed by a wide-ranging discussion of the case and the real-world ramifications of the holding. Students asked many questions ranging from the student’s rights to the differences in state and federal cases, to the role of the Supreme Court.
“This discussion engages the students in a lively debate about the competing factors in the case: the need to maintain safety in the schools versus invasion of the student’s privacy,” Shanes said.
Since this September marks the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution, the program is especially timely, the press release said.
“What better way to celebrate the greatness of our Constitution than to bring it to life for our next generation of citizens?” Shanes said in the release.
The judge serves on the Board of Directors of the 1,250 member Illinois Judges Association, which works to foster public confidence in an independent judiciary. More information about the program is available from Judge Shanes at (847) 377-3600 or from the IJA at (312) 431-1283.