We the People

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Public law 108-447 was added as an amendment declaring Sept. 17 as Constitution Day.

In this teaching our kids report, we started our story today asking students on college campuses what right allows us, in the press, to give you an accurate detail of news where you live.

Ryan Ostler, a student at Truckee Meadows Community College, said he would rather not even respond to that question.

Chris Moss, a student at The University of Nevada, however, immediately knew the answer.

"That's the first amendment, guarantees freedom of press, freedom of speech."

Another senior at Nevada, Edward Donor, took a guess, but wasn't really sure of himself.

"Freedom of speech? Is it?"

Fred Lokken, an associate dean in political science, at Truckee Meadows Community College, says these are not unusual responses from students.

In fact, he says, today's culture is more focused on a fast-paced learning where students are not always digesting everything they hear.

"We have national surveys whether or not students can recognize any of their bill of rights. And, we know most of them can't, never taken time to spend with it."

Freshman Amanda Berry, at Nevada, says there is a reason why students are listening.

"People don't want to learn in school. You have to learn it in school and a lot of kids don't really care."

That is exactly why Senator Robert Byrd, of West Virginia, added the amendment last year, that requires all schools and agencies that receive federal funds to include some form of education about the constitution within a week of Sept. 17 every year.

Dean Cole Campbell, with the School of Journalism at Nevada, says it's extremely important to understand the Constitution because it protects our country.

"A recent poll of high school students showed a lot of them thought that certain rights ought to be suppressed or waived... but, deference is not part of the American culture.

So, throughout next week kindergarten classes and university classes will take a little extra time to discuss why the Constitution is important.

Once again, students will learn it took almost one year for the nine states to approve the document and that the first ten amendments to the constitution gives us our bill of rights.