The Catholic University of America

Street Law Teams-up with Elementary School Students to take the Big Bad Wolf to Court

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On February 5, 2018, CUA Law's Street Law and Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School (Yu Ying) held a trial for the Big Bad Wolf. After introducing the elementary school students to criminal law and criminal procedure concepts the week before, Tiare Faatea (2L), Caroline Lannon (2L), Caitlin McClay (2L), Elizabeth Ulan (2L), and CUA Law alumna, Kimberly Ulan '16 hosted a trial in the Slowinski Courtroom. Joined by Professor Mary Leary, the students heard inspiring remarks regarding trial preparation, life as a prosecutor, and the importance of always believing in your case.

Focusing on certain belief systems, the students of Yu Ying created a belief system for the forest and used that belief system to prosecute the Big Bad Wolf. Combing multiple fairy tales together, the Yu Ying students split up into two groups, defense and prosecution, and began discussing possible charges and defenses. The trial ultimately held a guilty verdict for the Wolf on the trespassing and destruction of property charges. However, the Wolf was deemed innocent on the attempted murder charge.

As expressed by Tiare Faatea, “Volunteering at the Yu Ying Charter School was such a great experience. The children were so eager to talk about the law, and wanted to learn from us about how legal issues can be addressed in our everyday lives. Seeing how the law impacts the lives of all people and animals — from the village to the forest — was a great experience for me. I chose to study law because of the impact it has on an individual’s life. After our brief interaction with the students of Yu Ying Charter School, I believe more than ever that law impacts every person. Seeing the children’s joy performing their mock trial in the Slowinski Courtroom reinforced my belief that CUA Law has preparede me to show others how the law may impact their everyday life.”

Programs such as this, enhance the work the Street Law members bring to the surrounding community and schools. Through lesson planning, teaching, and mock trial coaching, Street Law members must consider the legal knowledge they gain in the law school classrooms in new ways, while providing invaluable mentorship to the students they serve.