On Feb. 10, 2005, Goldilocks was found liable to the Three Bears for both compensatory and puntitive damages resulting from her trespass into the Bear’s home. The trial, presided over by Assistant Professor of Law Michael Domino, was held at Widener University School of Law’s Harrisburg campus and was conducted by seventh and eight graders from Jim Howard’s class at Steele Elementary, Harrisburg, Pa. The students assumed the roles of counsel, court room staff and jurors.
The event was an extension of the fall portion of the Law Education and Peace for Kids (LEAP-Kids) program. The program is conducted at Widener Harrisburg by the Claude Pepper Chapter of Phi Alpha Delta, Law Fraterinty International (PAD), in association with the Pennsylvnia Bar Assocation.
LEAP-Kids provides age-appropriate lessons to elementary students on how the law benefits people who seek justice, punishes those who disobey it and how students can use the legal system to resolve problems peacefully. The LEAP teachers — PAD law student members — lead interactive instructional classes that are geared toward encouraging critical thinking about the law, the legal process and citizenship in general.
Mr. Howard’s class met weekly with Widener students and experienced LEAP teachers Jason Lambrino and Drew Miller. Both Jason and Drew are very dedicated to making a difference in the way civics is perceived in the minds of the Harrisburg youth. Jason, filled with pride, said he “admired the students’ abilities to see a bright line between what is right and wrong” in spite of the endless gray areas of the law. He added that the most important lesson he took from the experience was “not to lose sight of the simplistic goal of the law — distinguishing between right and wrong.”
PAD has carried this program into the spring term with five schools in the Harrisburg area currently participating. The end of the spring program will be celebrated with another mock trial slated to be held in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court with the Justice Michael Eakin presiding.
Andrew J. Gonzalez, Justice, Claude Pepper Chapter
Keli Knapp, Vice Justice, Claude Pepper Chapter