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LAW DAY BRINGS CIVICS GAMES TO DELAWARE SCHOOLS

iCivics

Former Chief Justice E. Norman Veasey speaking to students from Hanby Elementary School. He was one of many attorneys, judges, and others who participated in Law Day this year.

Judges, attorneys, law students, and paralegals visited approximately 127 public elementary and middle schools in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County as part of this year’s Law Day initiative. Law Day, which marks the United States of America’s commitment to the rule of law, was established in 1958 by President Dwight Eisenhower and codified by Congress in 1961. Law Day is celebrated on the first day of May.

This year’s initiative introduced elementary and middle school students to iCivics, a web based program that allows students to explore and exercise through role play their rights and responsibilities as citizens of our constitutional democracy. ICivics was founded in 2009 by retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to promote civic understanding and participation among a new generation of young Americans. A 2011 Report by the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics at the University of Pennsylvania underscores the need for a greater understanding of the function and purpose of the three branches of our government. The report found that only one‐third of Americans could name all three branches of government and one‐third could not name any branches; one‐third believed that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling could be appealed; and nearly a quarter of polled individuals believed that a 5‐4 Supreme Court decision is referred to Congress for resolution. Despite a record high voter turnout in the 2008 presidential election, only 56.8% of the population voted.

iCivics

Christine DiGuglielmo, Esquire, presenting the iCivics program to Seaford Middle School students.

iCivics

Justice of the Peace Court Judge Susan Cline presenting the iCivics program to Seaford Middle School students.

The program provides students with the ability to participate in all three branches of government ‐ they can run for president, help the Supreme Court make a decision, or craft new laws as members of the legislative branch ‐ as well as learn about the Bill of Rights, executive power, and the federal budget. By playing these games, children will develop a better appreciation of the role and function of each branch of government, the separation of powers, and the need for an independent judiciary. ICivics is aligned to state and national educational standards and has been recognized by Delaware’s Department of Education. This initiative was sponsored by the Delaware Supreme Court iCivics Pro Bono Project; Justice Randy J. Holland, Delaware Chair for iCivics; the Women and the Law Section led by Laina Herbert, Esq., Women and the Law Section Chair; Superior Court Judge Jan R. Jurden; and the Delaware Paralegal Association, with assistance from the Administrative Office of the Courts.

 

For further information contact Franny.Haney@state.de.us.

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