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National Law Day observed

Taylor Lewis, a Junior Reserve Officer Training Cadet, shares his thoughts in front of his class during a debate for a class exercise being taught by Capt. Nora Cho, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Judge Advocate May 1 at Derby High School. On Law Day, Captain Cho teaches the students about the rights and privileges that youths have as U.S. citizens. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica Lockoski, 22nd ARW Public Affairs)

Taylor Lewis, a Junior Reserve Officer Training Cadet, shares his thoughts in front of his class during a debate for a class exercise being taught by Capt. Nora Cho, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Judge Advocate May 1 at Derby High School. On Law Day, Captain Cho teaches the students about the rights and privileges that youths have as U.S. citizens. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica Lockoski, 22nd ARW Public Affairs)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Some people look at today's youth, their fashion sense, their taste in music, their mind-frame and are intimidated by the thought that these young people will one day run the nation.

Others look at the members of today's younger generation and see potential in tomorrow's leaders.

Regardless of public opinion, for these youths to become the country's future decision makers, knowing their rights as United States citizens may be invaluable.

For this reason, members of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing's Legal Department visit high school students once a year on Law Day to discuss the rights and privileges of U.S citizens.

Law Day is a national day, set aside annually, to celebrate the rule of law and the legal process's contributions to the freedoms Americans share. Law Day, established by the American Bar Association, encourages legal representatives to educate youngsters about their rights.

Members of the 22nd ARW's Staff Judge Advocate's office visited the Junior Reserve Officer's Training Corps at Derby High School May 1-2. The goal was to inform students about the laws and equalities that govern the U.S. and teach them to understand those laws and how they can protect and serve young adults' interests.

"We need the students to realize they take as much part in decision making as any other citizen despite their age," said Capt. Nora Cho, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Judge Advocate.

Captain Cho leads a classroom demonstration showing the class how to understand the power of advocating their rights as citizens. She constitutes a made-up law dictating the need for drug testing of all 11th grade students.

She asked individual class members if they thought law should be mandatory. It stirred a debate between the students who supported the drug testing and those who opposed it.

"Not only do the students (need to) express their opinions, but they need to back them up with the law and facts that make an impact on the law," the captain said.

For the students, knowing how to exercise their rights can help them address other issues in school such as participating in extra-curricular activities and sports and disputing curfew laws and attendance policies. It also could come in handy if they found themselves in front of the school board or in a Parent Teacher Association meeting where they have opportunities to speak out.

"The students responded very well. They were cooperative and very excited about being able to voice their opinions," Captain Cho said.

She said that it is important for youths to learn different avenues of communication and to put their ideas out there where their voices can be heard.

"After all the young people are the future of America," she said.