Exploring the Legal System with FLVS

When students first begin my Law Studies class, they often ask, “What is this class all about, anyway?”

Although I often tease them for signing up for the course before asking that question, it is a valid question. The title of the course, “Law Studies,” is relatively vague.  There are so many topics that could fall under the umbrella of “law,” and many of them are covered in the course.

The most effective way to describe the course, I think, is to explain what it can do for you.  The Law Studies course, through its exploration of content ranging from basic governmental principles to criminal, immigration, and bankruptcy law, helps students develop their skills in critical thinking, persuasion, and legal writing.

Before beginning any kind of legal education, it is important to start with the building blocks of our government.  How did we get here – and why? 

Getting Started with Law Studies

Fittingly, the course begins with a brief background of the U.S. legal system.

Many students are already familiar with this information from prior course experiences in courses like Civics or Government. Students often comment that the Law Studies course helps them immensely with Civics, Government, and AP Government courses.

After a brief background of the legal system, we look at some specific legal cases that challenge constitutional principles.  So, instead of memorizing a list of amendments, you can actually see how they might be applied in your own life.

One of the best things about the lessons in this course is that they are specifically tailored for high school students.  For example, do you ever consider these things?

Hey, are they really allowed to search our lockers?  Why?

                Can a college consider my race when they are making admissions decisions?

                I wonder how much my school can control my speech…?

All of these questions (and more!) are addressed in the lessons.

Exploring Practical Applications and Stories

You can read stories about students, just like you, who challenged their schools or their communities when they saw something unfair.  You will also find out what happened when they went to court, and what this might mean for you and your peers.

Not only do students in Law Studies learn about legal issues, they also have many opportunities to share their opinions about these topics.  Through live lessons, discussion boards, and one-on-one conversations with instructors, students learn to develop factually-based, coherent, and logical arguments about topics that are important in today’s world, such as crime, immigration, tort reform, and affirmative action.

Students who love to question things, to debate, or maybe even dream of one day becoming a lawyer, love this course for its practical introduction to the study and practice of law.  However, all students can appreciate the course for offering a comprehensive education of the American legal system and its practical applications for American teenagers.

Get to know your rights – take Law Studies!

Post by Lori Wurtzel, FLVS Professional Learning Specialist, Teacher

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