Celebrating Constitution Day in North Carolina Schools

By Judge Christopher Brook

Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787. This and every year the Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities Section of the North Carolina Bar Association celebrates Constitution Day by traveling the state and speaking with students about the history and continued relevance of this founding document.

If you are a member of the Constitutional section, September is always a month you look forward to. First, let’s be honest: we all have a little bit of constitutional law dork in us. Any excuse to talk about a document central to the framing of our government and the securing of individual rights and we perk up. But, even more importantly, our section loves the opportunity to share our enthusiasm with students and, yes, receive it right back.

In my many years as a member of the section, I have traveled as far east as Jacksonville and all the way out to Swannanoa in the west to talk with students about Constitution Day. This year I stayed a little bit closer to home, trekking only so far as Cedar Ridge High School in Hillsborough and Cary High School. But, regardless of the year and the locale, the payoff is the same: eager students engaged in thoughtful conversations about what the Constitution means to them and for them in their day-to-day lives.

This year, aided by a wonderful guide put together by our previous Chair, Elon Law Professor Patricia Perkins, I had conversations about the Fourth Amendment and its protection against unreasonable searches and seizures that would have made even the most jaded criminal law practitioner smile.

No doubt there is plenty of cynicism in our society at the present moment. Might I suggest an antidote? Mark your calendars to volunteer with our section for Constitution Day 2020. It will be here before you know it.

Photos (from top to bottom): Section members Paul Cox, John Branch (Secretary), and Judge Christopher Brook (Chair) share their enthusiasm for constitutional law with students from across North Carolina on Constitution Day 2019.