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NCBF Hosts Justice Teaching Institute

NCBF Hosts Justice Teaching Institute

Participants take a break on the beach to pose for their team picture at the 2017 Justice Teaching Institute.

The North Carolina Bar Foundation (NCBF), through the efforts of its Law-Related Education program, presented the 2017 Justice Teaching Institute on Aug. 2-4 at the Trinity Center in Salter Path.

Twenty-one North Carolina high school and middle school educators participated in the event, which has been presented every other year since 2005 through funding provided by the NCBF Endowment.

Presenters
This year’s institute focused on media-related issues and featured an outstanding faculty, most of whom are members of the NCBA. The topics and presenters were:

  • Logic & Evidence: Doug McClanahan, solo attorney
  • Facts and Alternate Facts: Dr. T. Harrell Allen, professor and former journalist
  • Social Media in the Age of Controversy: Deborah Van Dyken, solo attorney
  • How Does Perspective Influence Justice and Discipline in the Classroom: Peggy Nicholson and Ricky Watson, Youth Justice Project, Southern Coalition for Social Justice
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes (reading & seminar): Joe Austin, attorney, Narron O’Hale & Whittington PA
  • Tackling a Controversial Topic: Regina Chavis, law student and former middle school teacher
  • Creating Public Policy: The Sausage Factory: Ryan Blackledge, attorney, director of government affairs, Cone Health
  • Internet and the First Amendment in Schools: Chris Brook, attorney and legal director, ACLU of North Carolina
  • Actual Innocence: When the System Breaks Down: Chris Mumma, executive director, N. C. Center on Actual Innocence
  • Laws, Regulations & Executive Orders: Melissa Michaud, Attorney, Tharrington Smith LLP

Participants
The participating educators, in true North Carolina spirit, hailed from the mountains to the coast. The graduates of the 2017 NCBF Justice Teaching Institute are:

  • Raymond Beamon, West Mecklenburg High School
  • Amanda Buchalski, Jay M. Robinson Middle School
  • Jeff Butrum, D. H. Conley High School
  • Brandy Chappell, Martin Millennium Academy
  • Joy Clark, Franklin Academy Charter High School
  • Randy  Dunbar, Albemarle High School
  • Cameron Graves, Bartlett Yancey High School
  • Keisa Hines, Olympic Community Schools
  • Kelly Hoff, Croatan High School
  • Donald Jellison, Millennium Charter Academy
  • Samantha Kay, Lejeune High School
  • Jamie Lathan, NC School of Science & Math
  • Shon McAteer, Village Christian Academy
  • Elizabeth Mosley, David W. Butler High School
  • Jen Painter, C. E. Jordan High School
  • Patricia Robblee, Lejeune High School
  • Teri Stanley, Southern Nash Middle School
  • Jenna Thomlinson, David W. Butler High School
  • Ron Watson, Topsail Middle School
  • Frank Wilson, Henderson Middle School
  • Elaina Wingfield, Bethel Middle School

Peggy Nicholson (standing) and Ricky Watson (seated left) of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice’s Youth Justice Project make their presentation.

What they’re saying about the 2017 Justice Teaching Institute:
Brandy Chappell (teacher): “Great presentations on Social Media and Education Law; things I did not know after being a teacher for 17 years. Valuable things to take back to my principal and fellow teachers, as well as things I can take back and use in my classroom.”

Chris Brook (attorney): “We are dealing with free speech, with how you engage in controversial topics. These are things I know from having a mom who is a teacher, things that come up in the classroom.”

Jamie Lathan (teacher): “I had a wonderful time, networking with other teachers, learning more about my rights and my students’ rights about laws.”

Elaina Wingfield (teacher): “There is no other professional development in North Carolina that gives you as much as this does. You walk away from this professional development with lesson plans and ideas, a greater understanding of the justice system and connections with other educators and professionals from across the state.”

History
The Justice Teaching Institute originated in the former Lawyers in the Schools program (now Law-Related Education) under the leadership of Nan Hannah and Susan Giamportone, and was endorsed by former Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake Jr. of the N.C. Supreme Court.

 North Carolina Bar Association President Gray Wilson announced the first Justice Teaching Institute during his installation address in 2004, and the first institute was held in October 2005 during the term of President Mike Colombo.

Heather Culp, who now serves on the NCBA Board of Governors, and David Hostetler of the UNC Center for School Leadership Development co-chaired the first Justice Teaching Institute. Countless volunteers contributed to its success, including Leanor Hodge and Chief Judge Linda McGee of the N.C. Court of Appeals. Law-Related Education Coordinator Diane Wright, a former high school teacher, was a participant in the very first institute.

The Justice Teaching Institute was adapted from a Florida program that provides teachers with the information and background they need to better understand and convey the depth and breadth of the legal system to their students.

And although the theme changes every two years, the desired results, in keeping with all aspects of law-related education, are young people who are equipped with the knowledge they will need to function and thrive as productive, community-minded citizens.

Photos courtesy of Carole Oliver