McNary students in the Youth and Law Class have a First Amendment Rights Mock Trial

By Logan Bowlby
June 8, 2022

Students in Mrs. Mackenzie DeLong’s Youth and Law class participated in a mock trial about student’s First Amendment rights to religion, free speech, and peaceable assembly this month. 

In the case, a student was removed from the stage by the principal at a scheduled protest for holding up a rosary. The principal argued that the rosary was a symbol of gang affiliation and a violation of the school's dress code. The student argued that removing him from the stage for holding up a rosary was a violation of his right to free speech, free expression of religion, and peaceable assembly.

Students were first assigned the roles of Attorney for the Plaintiff (Student), Attorney for the Defendant(Principal), and Judge. Then they prepared their arguments and finally they argued the case. 

In DeLong’s fourth period class, the judges returned the unanimous verdict that the student’s religious rights were violated. They also returned a split verdict that the student’s free speech rights and right to assemble were not violated.

McNary Sophomore Jessie Dire, a Judge, said, “This case was boring because it was an easy case for the Plaintiff. The students' rights were clearly violated.”

Quoting the landmark 1969 Supreme Court opinion in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, McNary Senior Brooke Proctor, an Attorney for the Defense, said, “Students don’t shed their rights at the schoolhouse gate. It was really hard arguing against the rights of students at school.”

After the verdicts were read, Proctor said, “But the real case was the friendships we found along the way.”