The exercise was overseen by local judge Victor Hulslander to get students to think about government beyond what's in their textbooks.
"We decided to keep freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, the right to protection from cruel and unusual punishment...," said Buchholz Senior Michael Altum.
These high school seniors found that choosing which of their rights to keep was equally difficult --when taking away one freedom means giving up another.
"We chose to keep the freedom of speech because everyone has the right to voice their opinion," added Christina Ramirez, the spokesman for her constitutional group.
Judge Hulslander cautioned students to "...think about it long and hard before you give up these rights."
Students at Buchholz are the first in Alachua County to be part of a course taught by local judges and attornies called "Teaching Justice." According to Hulslander the idea is to promote critical thinking by students in all grades about their constitutional rights. The program was started nine years ago by Florida Supreme Court Judge Fred Lewis. The idea is to assign each school in the state with a legal expert to teach these extra courses voluntarily. And teachers are enthusiastic about it. As part of the class, students are required to form their own constitutional conventions and decide how best to run a democracy.
"Unfortunately in this country people don't know how legislation works until it affects them," says the Buchholz history teacher Ben Raulerson, "It's more than just words it's practical experience,"he adds.
Judge Hulslander hopes that he won't be alone in going into schools. He has been working with his colleagues to bring the study of civics back into the classroom.Â He's been actively recruiting all Alachua County judges and lawyers to adopt a school of their own and go into the classroom at least once a month.
As these seniors get ready to enter the world, they can take away more than just what's in their textbooks, but also some practical lessons about the freedoms guaranteed by the original framers of the constitution. Senior Michael Altum summed up his experience, "They're all equally important and they should be fought for like our forefathers fought for them we shouldn't just give them up when somebody says we should give them up."
By Stacey Samuel, WCJB TV 20 News
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