Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder and Associate Judge Donald Flack plan to bring the courtroom to the classroom starting next week.

In commemoration of the 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, the Illinois Supreme Court announced a statewide program where Illinois judges will begin giving presentations to 225 high school civics classes on Sept. 17.

"It's a great program," Crowder said. "It's good to get high school students interested in their rights."

The program is planned to run through the end of the month and will focus on junior and senior high school students in history, civics or current events classes.

Judges hope to teach students about the role the courts play and hopefully inspire them to be lawyers and judges in the future.

Crowder and Flack have plans to present programs at local schools.

"We talk about the Supreme Court and the Constitution and bring it home to them," Crowder said.

"We thought it helps kids to study the U.S. Constitution and how it might impact them."

Crowder plans to discuss how privacy rights relate to a student's backpack being searched at school.

Her discussion will focus on a U.S. Supreme Court case, New Jersey v. T.L.O., which decided a Fourth Amendment issue: "Is it constitutional for school officials to search a student's possessions at a school without a warrant?"

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride, Justices Charles E. Freeman, Robert R. Thomas, Rita B. Garman, Lloyd A. Karmeier, Anne M. Burke and Mary Jane Theis will hold a press conference Wednesday in Springfield, announcing the program, titled "Project 225."

Volunteer judges will also discuss the three branches of government and the Illinois court system.

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