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Brooklyn schools celebrate Constitution Day

Monday, Sept. 17, marked the 225th anniversary of the adoption of the United States Constitution in Philadelphia. And across New York, schools have been recognizing this historic event with special programs and lessons as part of a federal initiative.  

New York State Bar Association President Seymour W. James Jr. encouraged educators to go beyond basic recitation of facts, and to engage students in a vibrant discussion and examination of the Constitution's impact on our everyday lives.

Brooklyn schools have scheduled a variety of events throughout the week to celebrate our Constitution’s anniversary. At Brooklyn College, a conversation focusing on the Constitution and Free Speech will be held on Thursday, Sept. 20 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

In addition, several campus clubs will conduct tabling, registering voters and handing out mini-copies of the Constitution. Brooklyn Law School will host similar events beginning on Oct. 1.

"Through a Civil War and two World Wars, the Constitution has endured. Through civil unrest and racial strife and presidential assassinations and attacks on our country by outside aggressors, the Constitution has been the cement that has held our nation together," said James, who works with the Legal Aid Society. "It is important that we share with future generations the rights embedded in it and regularly recommit ourselves to protecting those rights."

More than two centuries after its adoption, the Constitution continues to serve as a foundation for freedom throughout our country and across the globe, said James.

Since 1787, the U.S. Constitution has been the model for the constitutions of dozens of other countries, including those in Africa, South America and the emerging states of the former Soviet Union.

"The basic rights articulated in the Constitution – including freedom of religion, speech and assembly; the right to a fair and speedy trial, protection against cruel and unusual punishment; and the right to elect our representatives in government – are exercised and protected every day in the United States and abroad," he said.

A 2004 federal law requires schools to teach about the Constitution as a condition for receiving federal funding. Because some schools were closed on Sept. 17 for Rosh Hashanah, the law allows for them to hold their Constitution Day lessons the preceding or following week.

September 19, 2012 - 5:40am


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