Stand Up for your Rights! On May 20, 2014, Karen acted as a “judge” on a three-member panel with Judge Jay Blitzman First Justice, Juvenile Court Department, Middlesex Division and Attorney Eric Schutzbank, to hear oral arguments in the “Stand Up for Your Rights, Discovering Justice” mock appellate program for Lowell middle school students.
This event was part of a year-long pilot of the Stand Up for Your Rights program in which volunteer lawyers work with middle school students for 10 weeks teaching them to prepare oral arguments in a hypothetical First Amendment case. Stand Up for Your Rights teaches young people about law, the Bill of Rights, and the value of our justice system, while also engaging them in critical thinking, evidence-based argumentation, and respectful advocacy. Students then have the opportunity to engage directly with a real judge and two other senior attorneys who comprise a three-member Appellate Panel. While not part of the teaching program itself, Karen was part of the three-member Appellate Panel hearing the Lowell middle school students’ making their oral arguments in the mock case they had prepared for, which involved a student who was suspended for exercising his First Amendment rights. It was an amazing experience to watch these middle school students who had worked so hard, give their oral arguments to a real judge and real lawyers—they did incredibly well, it was hard to believe they were middle students as they courageously and competently gave their arguments and withstood questioning by our panel. Congratulations to all the students who participated, not just the ones Karen had the good fortune to hear, a job well done!