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NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 11, 2012

CONTACT: Kent Love, director of communications, 517-432-6959; kent.love@law.msu.edu

Michigan State Law Students to Teach Middle Schoolers First Amendment Law on Constitution Day

East Lansing, MI — Michigan State University College of Law students will speak to Ann Arbor middle school students about the First Amendment during a Constitution Day event on September 17, 2012. The group is part of a team of 50 lawyers and law students who will teach lessons to approximately 2,500 students throughout the district. The event is sponsored by the Public Service Committee of the Washtenaw County Bar Association, with support from the State Bar of Michigan.

“Our goal is to bring awareness to the rule of law by teaching our future adult citizens about their Constitutional rights, as well as their responsibilities,” said Lori Buiteweg, creator of the Constitution Day program for the Ann Arbor Public School system. “The program has been so successful that teachers began asking if we could come to additional classrooms.”

Professor Nancy Costello, director of the MSU Law First Amendment Law Clinic, began talking with Buiteweg about Constitution Day when they met last winter. She and 10 student clinicians will speak to 7th grade students at five schools.

“When Lori told me that she is always looking for volunteers, I told her I could get a few students to assist,” said Costello.

The event is not the full extent of Costello’s involvement in Constitution Day. She and Nicole Marucci, a third-year student at MSU Law, rewrote the 7th grade curriculum this past year, which now focuses on First Amendment cases involving student speech, including social media cases that still are evolving.

Costello hopes that the experience will give her law students a greater understanding of the First Amendment. “This will force my students to really understand First Amendment law,” she says. “When you really want to understand something, you teach it.”

The First Amendment Law Clinic is dedicated to providing pro bono legal representation on First Amendment issues to news media companies in the state of Michigan. Clinicians also provide education and legal advice and representation to high school and community college journalism students on censorship and privacy issues, as well as copyright and libel matters involving Facebook and Internet postings. The Clinic is a unique partnership with the MSU School of Journalism and the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association, and is the only clinic in the nation devoted to providing legal representation in defense of student press rights.

Michigan State University College of Law, a leading institution of legal education with a long history of educating practice-ready attorneys, prepares future lawyers to use ethics, ambition, and intellect to solve the world's problems. As one of only a few private law schools affiliated with a major research university, MSU Law offers comprehensive interdisciplinary opportunities combined with a personalized legal education. After 100 years as a private and independent institution, the affiliation with MSU has put the Law College on an upward trajectory of national and international reputation and reach. MSU Law professors are gifted teachers and distinguished scholars, its curriculum is rigorous and challenging, and its facility is equipped with the latest resources—all affirming MSU Law's commitment to educating 21st-century lawyers.

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Law College Building
648 N. Shaw Lane, Room 320
East Lansing, MI 48824
www.law.msu.edu


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