Saturday, March 08, 2008

Freedom Shenanigan #23
Teach Kids Their Rights

Kwitcher snitchin', and your confessin' too: "Programs teach legal rights to elementary school pupils"

By Sarah Viren,

The Southwest Juvenile Defender Center runs a visit-the-schools program called "Why a Lawyer" which is "one of several such programs taught in schools and detention facilities throughout the country by groups worried that children don't know their basic rights -- including the right to remain silent."
At the private Shlenker School in Houston, fourth graders were asked to answer questions from a "police officer" (played by a University of Houston law student) about a prank call to a neighbor's house. The student who said least was then singled out for praise for not "spill[ing] her guts".
When questioned by cops who are responding to reports of mischief, it seems, the recommended approach for preteens is "Give your name, your age and then ask for an attorney and ask for your parent."
Malikah Marrus, a researcher for the U-of-H-based Defender Center, complains that it's an uphill battle getting kids to clam up when questioned by the authorities: "Their impulsive behavior gets them to spill their guts right away."