DES MOINES, Iowa – High school students from a number of schools across Central Iowa witnessed part of the judicial process Thursday as part of a Constitution Day program.
Students sat in on oral arguments for four Iowa Supreme Court cases in both the morning and afternoon sessions at the Iowa Judicial Branch Building. The program is a collaboration between the Iowa Judicial Branch, the Iowa Department of Education, and the Iowa State Bar Association.
“It’s very important that Iowa students understand the significance of the Constitution and their duty to be informed United States citizens,” Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise said. “One way we do this is through Constitution Day activities, including our student-centered partnership with the Iowa Judicial Branch. If we want our students to graduate prepared for success in college and the workforce, they must have the knowledge and skills to be active, engaged citizens.”
Students unable to attend could view the arguments online via stream in the classroom. The justices say it’s a unique opportunity for high school students to see part of the judicial process in action here in Des Moines.
“The justices of the supreme court enjoy welcoming students to see the work of the judicial branch of their government first hand on Constitution Day,” Chief Justice Cady said. “It is an excellent opportunity for high school students to learn about the importance of the Iowa and United States Constitutions. We should all take time during the day to reflect on the genius of the 39 delegates to the constitutional convention who signed the U.S. Constitution 228 years ago and the 55 Iowans who signed the Iowa Constitution 70 years later.”
Bill Eggers, a teacher from East High School, says for his students in a credit recovery program focused on graduation, this is the type of experience that will engage them back in the classroom.
“Our job, you know, in the school system is to make the student’s to be better citizens and help them make well-informed decisions, and this goes a long way in helping them understand why we have our laws in place and why we have the rights that we do,” he said.