Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center
Social Studies



TITLE:  TO BE OR NOT TO BE ARMED

AUTHOR:  Mary Meritt; Stillwater High School, Stillwater, OK

GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT:ΚΚ11-12 / Government

OVERVIEW:  Many students have little understanding, nor do they see
the value of certain rules or practices in "running", a school or
the government.  (i.e. armed security guard in the parking lot).
In introducing the lesson, the students will be requested to list
what they believe exists around them that relates in some way to the
law.  Typically, they may criticize but seldom do they have an
issue, follow through on addressing the issue, and finally, practice
the skills necessary to resolve the issue.

PURPOSE:  The purpose of this activity (to be used in a secondary
governments class) is to begin the process of teaching students
communication and thinking skills and the procedures necessary to
resolve problems.  The goal is to develop an inquiry relationship
between the students and the administration, law enforcement, and/or
government officials.

OBJECTIVES:  As a result of this activity, the students will:
1.  Identify the specific objections (in the case) to the parking
lot security guard being armed.
2.  Determine the students who will approach the administration
after the class identifies the skills the representation need in
order to net the desired results.
3.  Divide into small groups and collect their substantative
remarks to be presented to the class and ultimately to be shared
with the administration.

This activity or a similar activity should be planned at the beginning
of the semester to achieve several secondary objectives.  Students many
times have difficulty seeing the relevance of laws at the congressional,
state, or local level.  Yet at the building level if the height of the
water fountain is a problem for the handicapped or the armed officer
is viewed as a problem, they need to learn how to impact decisions in
a positive way.  This activity sets the administration up as a resource
person on even bigger issues and starts students on the study of
"government" and "governance" with a trust building activity.  The goal
is to develop an iquiry relationship that will encourage young people
to continue their interest in assessing the legal issues involved in a
school setting and decision making that meets the expectations of
society.

RESOURCES/MATERIALS:  The cooperation of the administration, handbooks,
etc. will ensure the success of the lesson but, more so, the course.

ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES:
1.  Students examine the school handbook for the duties of the officer.
In small groups, they determines what those duties are and after 5 -
10 minutes, the list from each group is shared making a single list by
consensus.
2.  Students then examine the climate of the school via "paper"
questionnaires or through teacher-student led discussion as it
pertains to the "armed guard."
3.  Students are selected by the class to make an appointment with
the administration to share student concerns.  These students will
be selected because of certain communication skills they believe will
net the desired result  - an appointment with the class.
4.  Divide the students into small groups to prepare a draft of
concerns and rationale to be presented tot he administration.
5.  The teacher is to assist students in gathering information about
security, editing the written comments, and working with the
administration each spring in developing the course description to
ensure that the government class is viewed positively as a "live lab."

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:
1.  The teacher and the administration's representative set the
ground rules for the class discussion.
2.  The administration sets out the rationale from the security
service and the school.
3.  The resolution of the identified problem will be determined
by the position taken by the administration based on law, the security
provider, and what is in the best interest of the "safety" of the
student body.


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John Kurilecjmk@ofcn.org