High School Justice System courses?

I was wondering if any High School in the US offers any sort of introductory course to the US legal system. I’ve recently completed my paralegal certification, and it struck me that a lot of the material we covered could have been given in high school, and would have had a lot of utility had it been done so. (I’ve know far too many friends and aquaintences to be bruised by the legal system for lack of what seems to me to be basic knowledge.) We all, I’m sure, had to sit through some sort of intro to how the political system in the US works, but I can’t think of any coverage of the legal system.

Are there any high schools that offer this, and if not, why not?

I think they want you stupid on the law. So that they can get paid to uphold it. Thats my thoughts anyway. if we had a basic law course in our highschools then we’d never have to pay 25+ bucks for minor violations we had no idea existed before we commited it.

My high school (Stuyvesant High School, NYC) gives (or at least gave) elective courses in Civil and Criminal Law. The Civil Law class was tied in with a mentored Moot Court where the students worked with a law firm to develop arguments in a citywide Moot Court competition.

The other schools were scared of us 'cause our mentor law firm was Cravath, Swaine & Moore. :slight_smile:

I had basic law in my junior high civics class, as well as a couple of high school courses. What kind of basic knowledge are you thinking of?

Trouble is that today, the schools teach “Social Sciences” and the students don’t know history, geography, and civics; which used to be taught individually.

My high school has a Law class which even runs a simulated court.

Nametag, I’m thinking of the sort of things that Tia3child is talking about. I’m also thinking of things like the idea that you can hire a lawyer on contingency, rather than having to pony up a retainer to start with. Or an introduction to the concept of the legal clinic. (Something I didn’t learn about until well after college).

Hello Again, that’s really impressive. I’d’ve loved to have had that opportunity in my high school.

Kniz, I had separate classes for all those subjects, and I didn’t get any legal grounding until I started on my paralegal courses.

We have Street Law at my high school in Arizona. I don’t know how well attended it is, though, as it’s not required.

Huh. Maybe it’s just California then. It sounds like introductory law courses are available in high school in other states. I wonder what, if any effect that has…

I teach in the Chicago Public Schools. One of my classes is called “Law in American Society”, and it uses the familiar Street Law book. It is a popular elective with Juniors and Seniors. I agree that too many people are ignorant about the law, and this class is a great opportunity to help fill in that gap. We discuss the criminal justice system, basic American rights, discrimination, torts, and other relevant topics.

I took an afterschool American Legal Systems course last year through the GPCCs (Gifted Program Credit Courses) program.

Now, the high schools in my city offer different “academies.” Mine has a legal studies program. This year, it’s only open to ninth graders, next year, it will be ninth and tenth, etc. However, the kids are still expected to take the same Standards of Learning tests as everyone else, they just have to learn added legal applications stuff in with it. I’m not sure how helpful this program is, either- at a Model Judiciary competition (mock trials), there were only two of us from our school not from the legal academy part competing…and we were the only two that got to the next level. :rolleyes:

We had one in my high school. We learned about the constitution, basic criminal and civil law, had a mock civil trial and visited the local city courthouse (where we accidently screwed up the jury selection process).