Monday March 12, 2007

Law School Basics... In High School

Dayton Early College Academy students Tayana Hargrave and Ronnie Bush are getting a jump start on possible legal careers in high school. They are participating in a Street Law class started by UD law professor Dennis Greene.

Dayton Early College Academy students Tayana Hargrave and Ronnie Bush are getting a jump start on possible legal careers in high school.

They are participating in a Street Law class started by University of Dayton law professor Dennis Greene. Greene said the program will help UD's law school build better, interactive relationships with the community.

"This is a good class to get the basics (on how the law works)," Bush said. "I think it's a good opportunity to get an early start. A lot of people in other schools don't have this opportunity."

One student debated whether the history of the alleged victim in the Duke rape case should be a factor. Another asked what happens if you don't know someone is underage when you sell them alcohol.

Hargrave said she's increased her vocabulary, taken a good look into how cases work and gained more insight into what's happening in the world.

"These students need to know more about the legal realities in their worlds," Greene said. "They are living in the real world and we are teaching the application of the law in the world around them.

DECA administrators chose students for Street Law based on the students' interests and aptitudes.

A group of UD law students helps Greene teach the class.

"It gives me a chance to do some creative and positive things in law that are outside of the classroom," said Sarah DeMoss, a UD law student. "It gets students interested in the law and shows them they can do this."

DeMoss added that teaching high school students gives her a better understanding of her class subjects.

"I think (helping these students) breaks it down in more basic terms," she said.

Georgetown University started Street Law in 1972 as a part of clinical project by a group of its students. Approximately 70 law schools, including eight of the nine in Ohio, have Street Law programs in which law students teach practical law in high school, juvenile justice, prison or community settings either for credit or as part of pro bono programs.

For interviews, contact Shawn Robinson at 937-229-3391.