1997 Regular Session
By: Representative Dickson
House Bill 326
(As Passed the House)
AN ACT TO REQUIRE THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO DEVELOP A TRAINING MODEL FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF LAW-RELATED EDUCATION IN THE LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS; TO DEFINE THE TERM "LAW-RELATED EDUCATION"; TO PRESCRIBE THE PURPOSES OF LAW-RELATED EDUCATION; TO AUTHORIZE LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO IMPLEMENT LAW-RELATED EDUCATION USING THE TRAINING MODEL DEVELOPED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OR BY FORMULATING THEIR OWN PROGRAMS; TO REQUIRE THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO ENCOURAGE THE INCORPORATION OF LAW-RELATED EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS; TO PRESCRIBE THE COMPONENTS OF LAW-RELATED EDUCATION IN THE ELEMENTARY GRADES; TO PRESCRIBE THE COMPONENTS OF LAW-RELATED EDUCATION IN THE JUNIOR AND SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL GRADES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) Before July 1, 1998, the State Department of Education shall develop a comprehensive training model to be made available to local school districts for the establishment of law-related education in the public school system. For the purposes of this section, "law-related education" means an instructional approach about rules, laws and the legal system which actively involves students in instruction about legal rights, responsibilities and the role of the citizen in order to prepare the students for responsible citizenship. Law-related education is not a prescribed program of study, but is a generic, interdisciplinary, on-going approach to education which combines particular kinds of content with interactive instructional strategies.
(2) The purposes of law-related education shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(a) To train students to think critically;
(b) To teach problem-solving, conflict resolution and mediation skills to students;
(c) To help students understand their legal rights and responsibilities and the legal process, including the consequences of breaking rules or laws; and
(d) To encourage student participation and application of skills acquired through law-related education to real-life situations.
(3) A local school district may implement law-related education utilizing the training model developed by the State Department of Education or by formulating its own program. To assist in the planning and development of law-related education, an advisory group consisting of school, court, police, community service and academic personnel may be organized to address the specific needs of individual schools and communities.
(4) The State Department of Education shall encourage school districts to incorporate law-related education at every grade level. Law-related education may be used in the instruction of any subject matter.
(5) In the elementary grades, the components of law-related education may consist of the following:
(a) Evaluation of a certain rule to determine why the rule was made, who determines when the rule has been broken, and what the consequences for breaking that rule are;
(b) Studying rules to determine if the rules are clear, consistent, fair and enforceable; and
(c) Creation and enforcement of a set of rules by the students themselves.
(6) In the junior and senior high school grades, the components of law-related education may consist of the following:
(a) Examination of legal conflicts throughout history by using the case study method of legal analysis;
(b) Mock trials and moot court programs;
(c) Simulations and role playing of police procedures;
(d) Conflict resolution and mediation;
(e) Formal and informal debate;
(f) Cooperative group problem solving; and
(g) Regular visits and involvement with outside resource persons, including attorneys, police officers and other legal professionals from the community.
(7) A school district may incorporate law-related education into any after-school programs offered by the district.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.