The Catholic University of America




Faux Celebrity Spat Frames Legal Education for Local Middle Schoolers


Did Taylor steal Beyoncé’s microphone to embarrass her rival and best her in a competition?
Students from Takoma Park Middle School in Maryland spent a couple of hours trying to get to the bottom of the allegations during a mock trial held at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law on April 21.
As in past years, the 7th and 8th graders were invited to the law school as part of a morning learning seminar, in which they were introduced to basic legal concepts by acting out parts in a specially written trial. Students got to play the part of prosecution, witness and defense.
Catholic University law professor Margaret Barry (below left) presided over the action as judge, patiently walking the youngsters through such procedures as direct examination, the introduction of evidence, conferring between counsels and other standard components of a trial.
The issues in the fictitious trial were cleverly designed to grab the attention of the students.
Celebrity singers Beyoncé Knowles and Taylor Swift are both invited to perform and compete for top honors in the Takoma Park Middle School Idol Competition. Beyoncé is horrified to discover that when her turn on stage arrives, her microphone has vanished, leaving her unable to perform and embarrassed before the judges and fans.
She strongly suspects that Taylor has done the dastardly deed, but lacks an eyewitness to clinch the case. Instead, the prosecution of her rival rests mostly on hearsay. Witnesses testified they heard Taylor vow to win the Idol competition at all costs, and Beyoncé assured the judge that Swift is capable of anything to gain the upper hand.
Students wrestled with facts, timelines and conflicting testimony, and appeared to enormously enjoy their exposure to the legal system via a contrived celebrity catfight.