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Posted on Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 5:07 a.m.

Michigan State Law students teach middle schoolers about First Amendment for Constitution Day

By Staff

Michigan State University College of Law students spoke to Ann Arbor middle school pupils about the First Amendment during a Constitution Day event Sept. 17. The group is part of a team of 50 lawyers and law students who taught lessons to approximately 2,500 students throughout the district, including students at Tappan and Scarlett Middle Schools.

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Michigan State Law student Lauren Mercado taught seventh graders about First Amendment law at Scarlett Middle School Sept. 17.

photos courtesy of Michigan State University College of Law


Michigan State Law student Madison Palmer with seventh graders at Tappan Middle School.

The event is sponsored by the Public Service Committee of the Washtenaw County Bar Association, with support from the State Bar of Michigan.

Professor Nancy Costello, director of the MSU Law First Amendment Law Clinic, began talking with Lori Buiteweg, creator of the Constitution Day program for the Ann Arbor Public School system, about Constitution Day when they met last winter. This year, Costello and 10 student clinicians spoke to seventh grade students at five schools.


Nancy Costello of the MSU First Amendment Law Clinic at Tappan Middle School.

Costello and Nicole Marucci, a third-year student at MSU Law, also rewrote the seventh grade curriculum this past year, which now focuses on First Amendment cases involving student speech, including social media cases that still are evolving.

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.

The clinic is a 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.

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