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By sunshinecavalluzzi
On January 22, 2019

Lesson Plan: Assembly and Petition in and Around Federal Government Workplaces

Permanent Closure of Pennsylvania Avenue

Steve Scully discusses the decision to close Pennsylvania Avenue as a security measure

Description

"Congress shall make no law...abridging...the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." This inquiry enables students to explore the First Amendment freedoms of assembly and petition as they pertain to federal government buildings. It centers around the question, To what extent should citizens be able to assemble and petition in and around the workplaces of their leaders?

Procedures

  • Initial Impressions

    Respond to the following prompt: To what extent should citizens be able to assemble and petition in and around the workplaces of their leaders?

  • Extended Initial Impressions:

    Choose at least three of the below questions and consider them in light of your initial response. Add on to your initial response, incorporating your answers to the questions you selected.

    Does it matter if:

    • The citizens are assembling to petition or otherwise express opinions (versus to sightsee, take pictures, or otherwise visit the building)?
    • There exists a heightened general security alert within the nation and/or a heightened specific security alert regarding a public official in the building?
    • The citizens are shouting, playing instruments, or otherwise making loud noises (versus gathering and/or waving signs quietly)?
    • The citizen group is a particular size?
    • The citizens are behaving in a respectful manner?
    • The building is one housing elected officials (rather than appointees and/or bureaucratic career officials)?
    • The citizens are gathering in more widely publicly traversed areas such as sidewalks (where anyone might be happening by) versus less widely publicly traversed areas such as entrance plazas (where it would be more likely that only people with business inside the building would be)?
  • Evaluation, Part One: The Supreme Court

    Use the Assembly and Petition of Gov: Supreme Court Plaza Analysis GoogleDoc and the articles linked therein to evaluate assembly and petition outside of the Supreme Court.

  • Evaluation, Part Two: The White House

    Use the Assembly and Petition of Gov: The White House Analysis GoogleDoc and the videos and articles linked therein to evaluate assembly and petition outside of the White House.

  • Evaluation, Part Three: The Capitol

    Use the Assembly and Petition of Gov: The Capitol Analysis GoogleDoc and the videos and articles linked therein to evaluate assembly and petition at the Capitol.

  • Evaluation, Part Four: Buffer Zones and Evaluation, Part Five: Overview

    Use the Assembly and Petition of Gov: Buffer Zone Analysis and D.C. Overview GoogleDoc and the videos and articles linked therein to extend your understanding of issues pertaining to assembly and petition, particularly in D.C.

  • Final Analysis:

    Revisit your extended initial impression. Revise and expand it into a fully composed and supported claim that incorporates your fact-finding and evaluation.

  • Extension Activity Options:

    • Conduct a classroom Pop-Up Debate or similar deliberation activity centered around the inquiry question.

    • Have students explore local rules for assembly and petition and contrast them with the rules near federal government buildings.

    • Have students choose an issue about which they are passionate and "petition the government for a redress of grievances" via letters, emails, or social media communication.

    • Host a classroom townhall meeting where a member of the administration comes to class for the period or a part thereof to answer student questions about school rules and policies. (Added option: Have students make "picket signs" to post around the room on the day of the meeting).

Additional Resources

Vocabulary

  • 1st Amendment
  • Buffer Zones
  • Constitution
  • Freedom Of Assembly
  • Freedom Of Petition
  • Picketing
  • Redress
  • Symbolic Speech

Topics

AP U.S. Government Key TermsCivil Rights & Civil LibertiesInterest Groups & Lobbying

Grades

Middle SchoolHigh School