The NH Bar Association is committed to improving civics instruction in schools. The hope is that more civics and social studies instruction will better prepare students for participation as citizens.

In 2016, the NH Legislature passed SB 57, mandating a “competency assessment” for civics as a graduation requirement, joining 16 states that have made civics education a graduation requirement. To support schools and students in achieving civics competency, the NHBA offers numerous programs and resources, details of which are listed below.

Teacher Professional Development Opportunity: James Madison Legacy Project

The James Madison Legacy Project (JMLP) professional development opportunity will provide for 25 teachers from the New Hampshire to participate in a high quality civic education professional development. The JMLP is now conducting the fourth year of the program. It is called Cohort 4.

Recruitment of high school and middle school teachers (Grades 7-12) and teachers of Special Populations in those grade levels for Cohort 4 who will be able to teach civic education during the 2018/19 academic year.

Contact program coordinator Robin E. Knippers.

For more than three decades, the NH Bar Association has organized and sponsored programming designed to increase civics knowledge among New Hampshire students, with the help of volunteer attorneys.

When Love Hurts: Rights, Responsibilities, Realities

Whrn Love HurtsA Law Related Education program of the NH Bar Association brings lawyers and judges into classrooms around the state to teach students about the warning signs and consequences of dating violence and where they can find help.

Violence in adolescent and teen dating relationships can establish a pattern that increases the risk for experiencing severe domestic violence later in life. The NH Bar Association has joined the effort to break the cycle by establishing When Love Hurts: Rights, Responsibilities, Realities of Teen Dating Violence.

Attorneys and judges who choose to participate in the program will receive pre-selected video clips designed to spark discussion and learning during presentations to students in grades 8-12. The clips show abusive behavior in dating relationships that often escalates to physical violence. Please contact LRE Coordinator Robin E. Knippers.

We the People

We the PeopleThis nationally acclaimed civic education instructional program enhances students’ understanding of the institutions of American constitutional democracy while allowing students to discover the contemporary relevance of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The primary goal of “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” is to promote civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s elementary and secondary students. The design of the instructional program, including the innovative culminating activity, is what makes the program a success.

The culminating activity is a simulated congressional hearing in which students “testify” before a panel of judges. At the high school level, schools participate in Regional and State Competitions, held in December and January each year, performing units before a panel of notable governmental and political leaders. The top performing high school team attends the National Competition in Washington, D.C. representing NH.

Learn more.

Civics in Action Goes Viral

Civics in Action Goes Viral

A Statewide Effort to Promote Informed Citizenship and Start a Dialogue about the Constitution

Civics In Action Goes Viral brings a volunteer lawyer into your classroom for an interactive presentation to introduce students to their role as citizens and increase their knowledge of the US Constitution. Sign up for a visit.

ATTORNEYS: Sign up to introduce students to their role as citizens and increase their knowledge of the US Constitution.

Can You Pass the Test? The Civics In Action program began in 2011 with interactive presentations to 58 Rotary Clubs in NH through 2012 and continued in 2013 with presentations to the 18 Kiwanis Clubs in the state. Audiences are asked the same questions asked of those seeking US citizenship.

Civics In Action Goes Viral is an adaptation of this program for students in middle and high school classrooms that begins rolling out this school year. Try a practice test.

Civics in Action

Civics in ActionThe NH Bar Foundation and the NH Bar Association are collaborating on the continuation of an adult-focused civics education and awareness initiative, Civics in Action (CIA). CIA started last year with presentations to 58 Rotary Clubs around the state of the program, “Can You Pass the Test?” which asked audiences the same questions posed to those seeking US citizenship. The presentation provokes answers to the questions: Do most citizens know enough about US government to pass this test themselves? What does that say about our level of awareness as citizens in a democracy?

Can You Pass the Test?

The naturalization self-test is a study tool to help you test your knowledge of U.S. history and government. The actual civics test is NOT a multiple choice test. The civics test is an oral test. During your naturalization interview, you will be asked up to 10 questions from the list of 100 questions. You must answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly to pass the civics portion of the naturalization test.

This practice test contains 25 questions.

Law Day: A Lawyer and Judge in Every School

When Love HurtsLaw Day 2018A Lawyer & Judge in Every School pairs attorneys and judges with classrooms throughout the state to discuss concepts of law, rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

For Law Day 2018, on May 4, the NHBA LRE program encourages attorney presenters to bring When Love Hurts, a program that educates students about dating violence and helps them identify dating violence in their relationships, or a topic of your choice to classrooms across the state.

The ABA Division for Public Education has created materials that provide the opportunity to explore the many ways that the Fourteenth Amendment has reshaped American law and society. Resources.

Project Citizen

Project CitizenWe the People: Project Citizen promotes competent and responsible participation in state and local government. It actively engages students in learning how to monitor and influence public policy and encourages civic participation among students, their parents, and members of the community.

As a class project, students work together to identify and study a public policy issue, to engage support for their policy proposal. The final product is a portfolio displaying each group’s work.

In a culminating activity, the class presents its portfolio in a simulated legislative hearing, demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of how public policy is formulated. Teachers are encouraged to hold hearings in the classroom or community setting.

If you are interested in using this program in the classroom, please e-mail Law Related Education Coordinator, Robin E. Knippers for curriculum materials, or call her at 603-715-3259.

Additional information can be found on the Bar’s Project Citizen web page or on the Center for Civic Education website.

Leapholes

Leapholes“Leapholes” by James Grippando tells the story of Ryan, a middle school boy who hates school and is in trouble with the law. The one person that can help him is a mysterious magical old attorney named Hezekiah. Together they do their legal research by zooming through “Leapholes”; physically entering the law books and coming face-to-face with actual people from famous cases- like Rosa Parks and Dred Scott- who will help Ryan defend himself in court.

In 2007 the NH Bar Association invited several middle schools from around the state to participate in the “Leapholes” pilot project. The NHBA provided the classes with books for each student, teacher and attorney volunteer. The students read the book and, with the help of an attorney volunteer, discussed the legal aspects of the book. Classrooms participating in a culminating activity were invited to meet James Grippando at a “Meet the Author” event.

Information about using the Leapholes book in the classroom is available to schools who are interested: Robin E. Knippers, (603) 715-3259.

Constitution Day

On Constitution Day, Civics In Action Goes Viral brings a volunteer lawyer into your classroom for an interactive presentation to introduce students to their role as citizens and increase their knowledge of the US Constitution.

The Civics In Action program began in 2011 with interactive presentations to a combined 76 Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs in New Hampshire through 2012 and 2013. Posing the question, “Can You Pass the Test?” audiences were asked the same questions asked of those seeking US citizenship. Do most citizens know enough about US government to pass this test themselves? What does that say about our level of awareness as citizens in a democracy?

Civics In Action Goes Viral is an adaptation of this program for students in middle and high school classrooms that begins rolling out this school year.

Learn more.

Library Resources and Lesson Plans

The NHBA LRE Program has many videos, books and educational resource kits available.

Many lesson plans on a variety of topics are also available.

To order or for additional information, please contact Robin E. Knippers at 603-224-6942, ext. 3259.

Mock Trial Resources

The NHBA provides information, materials, case examples and volunteer referrals for mock trials. Learn more.

Patriots, Pirates, Politicians & Profit Seekers

Patriots, Pirates, Politicians and Profit Seekers CoverNew Hampshire Cases and the United States Supreme Court
Second Edition – 2015

The New Hampshire Bar Association has published a second edition, updated and online, of Patriots, Pirates, Politicians and Profit Seekers, a book examining influential decisions of the United States Supreme Court that originated from New Hampshire cases. The book, originally published in 1996, was written by Joan M. Blanchard and attorney Martin J. Bender. The 2015 revisions, including a teacher’s guide that includes curricular frameworks, standards and activities, was written by Blanchard and the Hon. Kathleen A. McGuire, Robert J. Lamberti, Jr., and Arthur Pease.

Patriots, Pirates, Politicians and Profit Seekers, Second Edition
Download the 121-page book.

Teachers Edition: Frameworks, Standards, Resources & Suggested Activities
Download the 188-page teacher’s guide.

Hard copies of the publication and the accompanying teacher’s guide are available to all NH high school libraries for free. Contact Robin E. Knippersto request a copy.

Beyond High School: A Guide to Your Rights & Responsibilities

New for 2018, the NH Bar Association’s Law Related Education Program is pleased to make available this guide explaining common laws that adults need to be aware of as they make decisions in adulthood. This publication was updated in 2018 by Attorney Jennifer A. Eber. The Law Related Education Program and the NH Bar Association wishes to thank Attorney Eber for her time and dedication to this project.

Please note: this guide is based on New Hampshire law in effect at or near the time of publication. It is issued as a public service to provide general information only and is not a substitute for specific legal advice.

Curriculum Resources on NH History

What is New Hampshire?
The New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies publishes an annual compilation of graphs and data on the people, strengths and challenges of the state. The compilation features interactive maps which illustrate much of the data upon which the full report is based. Examine changes in the state’s population from 1960 to today, and compare communities across a range of demographic measures, including education, income, median age, and other indicators. The maps are intended to give users a more hands-on way of understanding the state’s communities and its people. View “What is New Hampshire?

Patriots, Pirates, Profit Seekers and Politicians NH Cases and the US Supreme Court, Second Edition (text and teacher guide)
With an historic vote on June 21, 1788, New Hampshire ratified the US Constitution. In the more than two hundred years since that time, New Hampshire citizens have had many encounters with the US Supreme Court over the interpretation of that document. This text highlights many N.H. cases, which established legal principles that have affected the relationship between citizens and government and, as a result, made legal history. View the publication.

Rights & Reds: Cold War in New Hampshire
In the 1950’s, Communism was perceived by many Americans as the single greatest “threat to freedom and democracy.” For these people, communism came to represent anything alien to American values. This 60 minute video reviews the history of the “Red” threat in the United States and in particular within New Hampshire. It deals with the problems created in the rush to purge Communism and its resulting impact upon constitutional freedoms and liberties. The publication is available through the ERIC Clearinghouse. View the video online.

Never Say Die (license plate cover up case)
Mr. and Mrs. George Maynard, former residents of the State of New Hampshire and followers of the Jehovah’s Witness faith, thought they were exercising their religious freedom when they covered up the motto, “Live Free or Die” on their license plates. The motto offended Mr. and Mrs. Maynard because they believed it suggested allegiance to the government of man, while the Maynards believe only in the government of God or “Jehovah’s Kingdom.” The State of New Hampshire, however, made it a misdemeanor to obscure the motto. This is the story of the Maynards, who challenged the constitutionality of a state law, which they believed intruded upon their First Amendment right of religious and conscientious freedom. The curriculum is available for loan through the LRE Library at the NHBA. View Never Say Die on YouTube and download the accompanying teachers manual.

The Trials of Abraham Prescott (1835 NH murder case)
On June 23, 1833, eighteen year old Abraham Prescott bludgeoned Sally Cochran to death while the two were picking strawberries. Prescott confessed to the killing. Nevertheless, the State of New Hampshire still had to prove that Prescott committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt and was responsible for it. Prescott had a history of sleep walking and his defense lawyers decided upon defending Prescott on the grounds that he was not responsible for his actions. This vidoetape and guide addresses the difficult questions regarding confessions, competency, sanity and trial procedure. The curriculum is available for loan through the LRE Library at the NHBA.

Useful LRE Links

ACLU Freedom Network
A great site with a lot of information from the ACLU perspective. Lots of information on free speech, church & state, the death penalty & other topics of interest.

American Bar Association
Great law links page, including federal, state or even international information here.

Center for Civic Education
Major national LRE organization.

Constitutional Rights Foundation – Chicago
Includes many free lesson plans, as well as publications available for a nominal fee.

DiscoverLaw.org
Diversifying the legal profession one promising young person at a time.

Fairplay.org
Interactive program from the Georgia Civil Justice Foundation

Findlaw
A great way to find full text Supreme Court Opinions.

NH Public Television
A great place to locate local information.

Nolo Press Self-Help Law Center
An interesting & informative site for non-lawyers.

Oyez!
Provides summaries and audio of many SCOTUS cases.

Project Vote Smart
An excellent site to find information on elected representatives & candidates, including positions on issues, voting records, opinions of advocacy groups & campaign finance, among other things.

Street Law, Inc.
A great interactive site for information on human rights, property and the latest Supreme Court cases.

NH Judicial Branch Educational Resources

A page of resources for students, including:

  • Take a Tour of the NH Courts video
  • Your Guide to the NH Courts
  • Supreme Court “On the Road”
  • Constitution Day Essay Contest

and more.

``Know Your Rights`` Workshops

Attorney Joshua L. Gordon educates NH youth on what to do and say when confronted by law enforcement. Learn more.

Credit Abuse Resistance Education Program

C.A.R.E., the Credit Abuse Resistance Education Program, is a program designed to provide students with a better understanding of the costs of credit and the dangers of overspending or overreliance on credit, particularly credit cards.

For more information, or to schedule a presentation, contact:
Mary F. Stewart, Esq.
Mary Stewart Law, PLLC
2 1/2 Beacon Street, Suite 285
Concord, NH 03301
603-226-7450 (ph)
866-511-0969 (fax)
www.marystewartlaw.com

RELATED: JumpStart Coalition: financial literacy programs, with an annual competition for a variety of grade levels.

iCivics

iCivics prepares young Americans to become knowledgeable, engaged 21st century citizens. Learn more.

NHBA Law Related Education
LRE Coordinator Robin E. Knippers

LRE Coordinator Robin E. Knippers

Law Related Education (LRE) serves as a tool to help youth connect their values to civic participation and become the kind of active citizens democracy depends on.

The NHBA Law Related Education Program is directed by the Law Related Education Coordinator, Robin E. Knippers, along with a committee relating to the individual LRE programs. The program began in 1985 and now serves over 50,000 students and teachers in New Hampshire. LRE provides curriculum resources, development and educational opportunities, interactive projects with attorneys, law firms, and schools across New Hampshire.

NHBA LRE Mission Statement

Law Related Education (LRE) encompasses a variety of programs for students in grades K-12, designed to teach students about law, the legal system and the fundamental principles upon which our constitutional democracy is based. Activities are intended to foster partnerships between schools and attorneys who volunteer their time for educational purposes.

The Law Related Act of 1978

According to the Law Related Act of 1978, LRE is “education to equip non-lawyers with the knowledge and skills pertaining to the law, the legal process, and the legal system, and fundamental principles and values on which these are based.” The U.S. Department of Education regulations supporting the Act add that LRE helps students “respond effectively to the law and legal issues in our complex and changing society.”

LRE Today

Today, LRE embraces a rich and varied array of programs for all grade levels. These programs share a common goal of fostering the knowledge, skills, and values students need to function effectively in a society defined by its democratic institutions, pluralism, and the rule of law. LRE strives to develop the active citizens a democratic society requires: those who can understand, live in, and contribute positively to the civic communities to which they belong.

Financial Support for the Law Related Education Program is provided by

New Hampshire Bar Foundation