Required American Law Class

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More stories from Caroline McFadden

Many don’t know the First Amendment in the United States Constitution. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, and right to petition. A survey, conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, showed 37 percent could not name any of the five rights protected by the First Amendment, and only 48 percent could name freedom of speech. Statistics show that most people today are not familiar with even the most basic laws. One law that not many know is the use of “I plead the fifth”. If ever in a legal situation there is a big difference between simply remaining silent and literally stating, “I plead the fifth”. Remaining silent during a police interview or an interrogation would later be interpreted in court as refusal to cooperate. Also, in business situations the need to make use of contracts and agreements will be much better if familiar with the laws of the country.

Knowing the rights and the laws in our country can cause a big impact in a citizen’s life. That’s why it would be a great thing if high schools made students take a mandatory American law class.

Learning and knowing about American laws and government will aide in the understanding and knowledge of the rules in the country once high school is over. The law is important because it acts as a guideline as to what is accepted in society. They were made to provide for proper guidelines and order upon the behaviour for all citizens and to sustain the fairness on the three branches of the government. The class will allow for the understanding of politics, economics, and government in adulthood.

Though if not interested in law and not engaged with social studies classes, this class is not good for all. In order to truly understand American law, one needs to be at a certain level in English and history to fully understand the language of legal documents that are hard to comprehend. Most attain that proficiency in their senior year of high school, so it becomes a problem offering an American Law class to all students.