Excellence in Education: LAWS Civics Education Program

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 3:42 PM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - In this week’s Excellence in Education report sponsored by Davis & Elkins College, we are highlighting the LAWS Civic Education Program.

LAWS, or the “Legal Advancement for West Virginia Students,” Civics Education Program hosted high schoolers from Monongalia and Preston counties on Wednesday to watch the inner workings of the State Supreme Court.

It works by having local attorneys visit the schools and help students study the cases ahead of their day in court. Then, the attorneys present their arguments to the bench, and students have a chance to debrief with them after.

“It’s where students come in, they hear real arguments, they are real cases with real lawyers that have been filed by the court, and they get to hear arguments. They also get to do a debrief with the attorneys that are involved to just understand the process,” said Justice C. Haley Bunn.

The goal of the program is to help students get a better understanding of the judicial system.

“It gets more young folks interested in the legal field and in public service. The court is really committed to doing education about the judicial system and how it works because as you may know there’s a crisis and a “lack of respect” for the judicial system and how it works. It’s hard to respect something you don’t understand,” Justice Bunn said.

Since the program was established in 1999, they have helped over 6,500 students in over 40 counties.

After the students hear the cases, their teachers often will take what they learned and use it in the classroom.

“The teachers will watch our docket, so when we actually issue opinions on these cases, which will come out some point before mid-June, the teachers often discuss what they thought about whether the arguments pointed to one way or another,” Justice Bunn said.