Young leaders to participate in unique First Amendment program

The ASU High School Leadership Academy will hold a program later this month that focuses on the First Amendment and free speech issues.

The ASU Political History and Leadership program hosts the academy to prepare the leaders of tomorrow for their future endeavors.

In the upcoming program, high schoolers will participate in faculty-led discussion sessions after assigned short readings.

Katzin family professor Dr. Don Critchlow explained that the discussions will “focus on ‘What is a right?’ and what Americans mean when they say, ‘We have a right.’

The session following the Americans’ rights discussion will focus on why the First Amendment includes free speech, the right to assemble and the right to free press.

The students will then be put in mock situations and discussions similar to ones our nation’s historical leaders dealt with.

“So, it puts them into a role of historical actors trying to make real decisions within the context of the time,” Critchlow said.

The program will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 11 at the ASU Tempe Campus. 80 high school students from across the valley will learn civic education and leadership training through their participation.

Critchlow said the ASU High School Leadership Academy takes a “principled pragmatism” approach to ensure students understand what they learn can be applied in the real world.

“They need to learn the foundations of democracy but also how principles of democracy and principles of right and the meaning of liberty is applied in the real world of business and politics,” Critchlow explained.

The academy invites business people to its programs, so the students can learn from industry professionals how civic-related issues are applied in work situations.

“We introduce these principles of economic freedom as they operate in the real world,” Critchlow said. “Putting students in the context of the real world, how legislation has advanced and how business has advanced it gives them a greater understanding of fundamental principles but also lots of pragmatic compromise.”

The ASU High School Leadership Academy hosted its first program the summer of 2016 and has since worked to reach more high school students across the Valley.

Sierra Ciaramella

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