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Chances are that high school students at Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden, N.J., will no longer be victims of illegal searches and seizures. At least that is what law students at Rutgers School of Law�Camden hope. As part of the school’s new Street Law program, law students went to two area high schools to teach the students to fight substandard housing, discrimination and violations of the Fourth Amendment. “They need to know their rights,” said third-year law student Marissa Band, who participated in the law school’s program. She taught the students what constitutes reasonable suspicion and probable cause, and practiced applying the law in hypothetical situations. Rutgers School of Law�Camden just completed its first semester teaching high school students, joining more than 70 other law schools in the country that offer Street Law programs. These programs allow law students to go into high school classrooms and teach on legal issues that apply to daily life. The New Jersey program also received support and funding from the New Jersey State Bar Foundation. “The law students can concentrate on issues we can’t get to in the curriculum,” said Woodrow Wilson High School social studies teacher, William Sutton. “And they are closer in age and the students really identify with the fact that they are going to be lawyers.” Stretching back to 1972 Street Law, a term coined by a Washington school district superintendent, started in 1972 with a clinic at Georgetown University Law Center. From there, one of the participating students in the clinic, Ed O’Brien, took the program internationally with the creation of Street Law Inc., in Washington, which provides materials and guidelines to law schools on how to start and run a street law program. Street Law programs are now taught to high school students, foster care youth and prisoners in all 50 states and in 30 countries, said O’Brien. “It shows kids in the inner city that law is protective of rights, not just punitive,” O’Brien said. Law schools can set up the programs as pro bono student projects, as Rutgers has, or as for-credit clinical programs, as Georgetown University Law Center continues to do. Law students participating in Georgetown’s D.C. Street Law Clinic teach a high school class two to three times a week for the entire school year, said Richard Roe, director of the clinic. The law students also participate in two-hour weekly seminars and are observed by the clinic’s professor three times a semester. The law students must prepare monthly reports, have a lesson plan and keep a journal. The activities prepared by the law students require the high school students to engage in high-level thinking and make them feel they have a voice, Roe said. One activity, called “The Jilting of Jasmine,” introduces a basic case problem and requires the high school students to decide whether they should be able to sue in small claims court, Roe said. Some law schools with Street Law programs are participating in Street Law Inc.’s “Diversity Pipeline Project,” which aims to reach out to minority high school students to get them thinking about careers in law, with the hope of increasing diversity in the legal profession, said Judith Zimmer, deputy director of Street Law Inc. Law schools across the country submitted proposals to Street Law Inc. to receive grant money to fund special minority outreach programs. The Law School Admission Council is funding the project.

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