By Nicole Gelfman ‘18
Criminal law classes got the opportunity to see the National Constitution in Philadelphia on May 17, providing new insight for students interested in the fundamentals of how our country works.
31 students attended the trip along with four chaperones on a coach bus at no expense.
When students first arrived to the National Constitution Center, they went to see a show called, America Rising, which discussed the history and general meaning of the phrase, “We the People.” The show also addressed how the country developed and the influence it has on modern day Americans.
Afterwards, the students were greeted by tour guides who acquainted them with a magistrate judge from the United States District Court in Camden, N.J. Magistrate judges are people who aid district court judges (who are assigned to their particular area) in their duties and court appearances.
The program allows students to meet with judges so that they can further inquire about their professions. This can often inspire the impressionable youth who aim to become legal workers in the future. The students then moved onto the museum after an hour of meeting with the judge.
The students were able to discover the museum at their own rate and enjoy interactive activities such as mock elections and try on Supreme Court judge robes.
Lastly, the group visited the Hall of Signers, where there were statues of all the founding fathers who contributed to the Constitution.
The location is strategic because students got to see multiple historical landmarks such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
Amanda Esau ‘17 stated, “I got to learn from the judge about actual constitutional applications, which I found interesting. We learn the Constitution in school, but we learned how it actually played into real life. I would visit it again because I do enjoy it.”
The trip was part of the Bill of Rights program, which required students to take a test before and after the trip. During the trip, students watched an additional presentation on the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
The Bill of Rights is something that the criminal law classes learn as it portrays the basic rights of the people and the law as a whole. The Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment applies in the legal system as, “innocent before proven guilty,” and that everyone is treated equally if they are a citizen in the United States.
Victoria Haimov ‘18 said, “This trip helped me learn about the way America came about. It also helped me learn about the law system that was developed that we continue to use today.”
Mr. Stuart Rothstein, the law coordinator and teacher, stated, “The National Constitution Center is a valuable place for all students to see. It is across the mall from Independence Hall and a block from the Liberty Bell. Also, how many times does a high school student get to sit down and speak to a judge?”