American Law and Order class will tackle timely topics

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Helen Le, Sports Editor

Although the question of police brutality remains in the news, the debate over the role and power of law enforcement has not dampened student enthusiasm for the new American Law and Order class.
The course, taught by Jason Johnson, is focused on general subjects right now but will include a more detailed study of criminal investigation and juvenile law.
“We’ve learned about the California penal code, the Fourth Amendment, and right now we’re learning about crime scene basics,” junior Daniel Hagele said.
“The course is a survey course, intended to cover most items with very broad strokes, with detailed lessons on some of the more interesting topics to students,” Johnson said.
One of the purposes of the class is for students to learn about the justice system in America, as well as learning their own rights.
“I chose it because I’ve always been interested in learning about law,” Hagele said. “I’ve always been interested in law enforcement and criminal justice.”
“Mr. Johnson also said we’re going to go over police brutality a different time, because different semesters cover different topics in law,” junior Jordan Harris said. He would like an in-class Socratic seminar about police brutality to encourage discussion about the cases.
For the first semester, students will study policing and criminal justice; for the second, the class will learn about courts and American jurisdiction, the theory and philosophy of law itself. Excessive police force will be discussed in the second quarter.
“It will fall under the unit heading of use of force and abuse of police powers,” Johnson said.
The media’s coverage of police brutality, stemming from recorded videos of the actual incidents themselves, have quickly facilitated the spread of the cases.
“We will discuss what role technology and the media has played in these truths becoming more evident in our society,” Johnson said, referring to the videos.
“I think we should address them because they are a major problem that’s going on right now in the world,” Hagele said about the cases. He also agrees on a Socratic seminar for discussion.
The discussions should be interesting within the confines of the class as well, especially in terms of the popular movements surrounding the cases, such as Black Lives Matter, and the controversy surrounding the shootings.
Johnson plans to have a number of guest speakers that include police officers, law professors, homicide detectives and stenographers. He is also working on taking the class to the new courthouse, maybe even to sit on a case.
“The class is a great opportunity for students to become better acquainted with the legal system they are all subject to,” Johnson said.