Five Monmouth University scholars participated in the webinar, “The High Courts and High School – 20 Landmark Supreme Court Decisions That Impacted Students’ Rights,” hosted by the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE) on Feb. 23. The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) Legal Education Committee co-sponsored the virtual program that presented law and pre-law students the opportunity to serve as educators.
Political science majors Nashaviyah Steward, Shannon Feeley, Daniel Trocchia, Gabriella Griffo, and Devin Coia were the only undergraduate panelists at the event, which also included student representatives from Rutgers Law School, Camden and Newark locations, and Seton Hall School of Law. The event marked the first time that undergraduate and law school students participated as panelists in a NJICLE and NJSBA programming.
“It was quite an honor and opportunity for our students to take part in an NJSBA event. I was impressed by their poise and skill breaking down each case in such a short amount of time. Our students made us proud,” Kevin Dooley, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science and Sociology, said.
Participating students provided an overview of 20 landmark Supreme Court cases from 1943 to present day and covered topics including the Pledge of Allegiance and saluting the flag to school prayer, drug testing, freedom of speech, censorship of school newspapers, the rights of undocumented students, and searches and seizures.
Each school had five student representatives and a faculty liaison at the event, with Dooley acting on behalf of the University. Lawrence Jones, adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science and Sociology, also participated as the program’s co-moderator.
Feeley was one of the first presenters of the inaugural program and covered Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, while Trocchia presented on Safford Unified School District v. Redding, Steward expanded on Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee, Coia presented Morse v. Frederick, and Griffo closed the program with an analysis of Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.
“Devin, Shannon, Nash, Dan, and Gabriella were all outstanding and made Monmouth proud. The plan going forward is that tapes of this outstanding joint program will thereafter be made available to other educators to use in law schools, colleges, high schools, and public libraries throughout the nation,” Jones said.
Following the success of the NJSBA program, students, faculty, and law professionals are hoping to build on this unique opportunity in the future.
“Being able to represent Monmouth University and participate as an undergraduate made me proud to be a part of the Monmouth community. Presenting in front of lawyers validated my desire and drive to become a lawyer in the future,” Griffo said.