Teen Discourse and Discussion Miami Kickoff!
On December 1, 2017, the District Court along with our chapter held Miami’s first Teen Discourse and Discussion event at the courthouse. Judge Bloom and Judge Rosenberg have been instrumental in getting this program off the ground in our district and similar events were recently held in Ft. Pierce and Fort Lauderdale by our sister chapters.
Students from Young Men’s Preparatory Academy and Law Enforcement Officers Memorial High School arrived early to the courthouse where they learned about how various members of the FBA became lawyers and why they did so. The program then transitioned to selecting students for their various roles for the upcoming event, and then a discussion on civil discourse. Students were assigned roles as attorneys, jurors, a courtroom deputy, a courtroom security officer and two interpreters.
The framework of the argument to be made was Elonis v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2001 (2015), a First Amendment matter. The students were given a modified version of Elonis concerning a teenager’s facebook postings, where the parties were tasked with arguing whether the First Amendment protected his postings.
The student attorneys for each side argued three sub-issues, fielded questions from Judge Bloom, and also gave a closing argument. A spirited jury deliberation ensued.
After the conclusion of the jury deliberations, Judge Bloom reviewed a “reality checklist” where the students were presented with real-life situations that, if the wrong choice was made, could affect them for the remainder of their lives. Judge Bloom encouraged the students to make the right choice, and the students, interactive throughout, took the Judge’s words to heart.
Thanks to our local high schools for coordinating and attending and thanks to Judges Bloom and Rosenberg for making the rollout of this program a success!