LAW RELATED EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Fairfax County now has the 12th largest enrollment of students in the country with over 166,000 students. There are approximately 137 elementary schools, 26 middle schools, 25 high schools and 5 alternative schools in the County. There is a great need for a school district of this size to appeal to the community in a cooperative effort to educate the children in a thorough and comprehensive way regarding all aspects of life.
The Fairfax Bar Association Law Related Education Committee (LREC) is active in numerous programs designed to educate the school children of Fairfax County regarding the legal system and the role of the judicial branch of the government. The LRE is also active in providing information to the school children regarding the legal and medical consequences of drug and alcohol abuse, the legal consequences of gang related activities, and gives the students an opportunity to participate in legal proceedings. The LREC also is dedicated to providing the teachers of Fairfax County with the information and tools needed to inform students of their constitutional rights and of legal issues facing children today, including discrimination and domestic issues.
The LREC's goal is to improve every student's understanding of the justice system and clarify the student's rights and responsibilities in society through its numerous programs. Currently, the planning and implementation of all of the programs is done by volunteer attorneys.
The FBA and the LRE Committee would like to thank all those who volunteered during the past school year. To view the complete list of volunteers or to sign up for the LRE committee, go here.
Court Tour Program
One of the most successful programs offered to all eighth grade students of Fairfax County is the Court Tour Program. Fifty-two tours are scheduled throughout the school year for approximately 2,000 students of the 26 middle schools that include tours of the Juvenile and Domestic Court, the General District Court, and the Circuit Court of Fairfax County. LREC members serve as guides for the tours. The Court Tour Program is also offered to private, parochial and home school students in the county. Many high schools also visit the courthouse as a part of t heir business law, government or law in action classes.
The LREC's Children's Plays project presents a choice of mock trials performed by members of LREC to elementary school children during the course of the school year. The LREC has also videotaped four of the plays and they are offered to all schools through the Media Network of the school system. They are also broadcast via cable throughout the school year. Requests from all over the country have come in for these videotapes as they offer a brief mock trial with a teacher's guide.
Since 1995, the Fairfax Law Foundation has sponsored the Court Tour Program. Due to the economic climate and budget cuts, the Court Tour Program cannot continue without the help of sponors. View this PDF to see what school already has sponsors and what schools are in need.
This program provides volunteer attorney speakers to reach out during a one hour discussion with a group of at-risk teenagers. This session is part of the Devonshire Youth Alcohol and other Drug Intervention seminars held throughout the school year sponsored by the Fairfax County Public Schools and Youth Alcohol and Drug Services. Each session consists of a three day self-awareness program, designed to reach out to juveniles who are in trouble with the law. Students are placed in this program for a variety of reasons including: possession of alcohol or drugs at school, at a school event or on a field trip, being under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the community, circumstances warranting a recommendation from school administrators or guidance counselors to refer the student to the program or whenever a probation officer requires participation in the program as part of the probation. This program differs from most others because it is a sit-down conversational setting, rather than a podium lecture. Attendees range from 14-17 years and include boys and girls. Class size usually ranges from 7-10 teenagers, many of whom have pending court dates.
Model Judiciary Program
The LREC provides an opportunity for 11th and 12th grade students to participate in both the trial and appellate phases of legal proceedings in their Model Judiciary program held every November, with oral arguments before the Virginia Supreme Court held in February. Currently, approximately 300 students participate in this program in which a scripted outline of a criminal jury trial is provided to the students, and they are assigned a volunteer attorney who explains trial techniques. Judges from the Fairfax County Circuit and General District Courts preside over the trials.
The LREC Speaker Program
In this program, attorneys are provided to those classrooms participating in the Court Tour program in order to supplement the program and to reach those students who were not included on the tour, and to high school business law, government classes and law in action classes to speak on a variety of legal issues. The LREC reaches about 15 area high schools with this program.
Each year, the Law Related Education Committee takes on new programs and responds to numerous requests from the community for lawyer interaction with school systems and community groups. We are proud to be such a vital part of our community and we can only continue our success with the help of volunteers like you.
Please contact Sonya Duchak at 703-627-1228 for more information.