South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson speaks to fifth and sixth grade students on Law Day at C.C. Pinckney Elementary School, May 1. Each year the American Bar Association releases a new theme for Law Day. This year, students learned about the Cornerstones of Democracy. Wilson discussed freedoms and rights guaranteed under the Constitution with students. (Photo by Nathan Clinebelle)

Attorney General Alan Wilson, Fort Jackson legal team bring ‘democracy’ to Pinckney

By Emily Hileman, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

Second through fourth grade students at C.C. Pinckney Elementary School were able to partake in a vital part of the American justice system valued by many Americans– voting. They were presented both options and voted on the question of the century in modern American politics – Which is better, cookies or ice cream? With an overwhelming majority, students showed their support for ice cream during the Law Day presentation by the Fort Jackson Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, May 1.

Law Day, held May 1 every year, was created by the American Bar Association to cultivate a deeper understanding and appreciation of various aspects of law and the legal processes that take place in the U.S.

“The American Bar Association releases a new theme every year for Law Day,” said 1st Lt. Chelsea Corby, an administrative law attorney with the Fort Jackson Office of the Staff Judge Advocate. “They thoroughly encourage different sectors of attorneys to educate schools and anyone that’s willing to listen on whatever the theme is for the year.”

Due to the theme Cornerstones of Democracy, Corby thought the perfect cornerstone of democracy topic to teach to second through fourth grades would be voting. Corby said she really hopes students keep in mind their civic responsibilities as they grow older. “Voting is just the first step,” she said. “Hopefully, this can open some of their eyes to paths in government, because we always need more leaders.”

Although fifth and sixth graders didn’t get to vote during the monumental election, they did have a special treat in the form of a guest speaker. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson attended and spoke to the older students. He began by introducing himself and explained what he does and that he doesn’t represent individual clients, but the entire state of South Carolina. “I don’t work for any one person,” he said. “I don’t have a boss. My boss is the people of South Carolina.”

Wilson went on to discuss freedoms and rights guaranteed under the Constitution and the importance of protecting those rights. Students discussed various rights such as: the freedom of religion and the right to be judged by a jury of peers. Some students even mentioned more creative freedoms such as the freedom to dress how they choose, be what they want to be as long as they work hard and the freedom to travel.

“I hope you walk away today with a better appreciation for why our democracy is so amazing and so wonderful,” Wilson said. “Just remember, the things you’re doing today … are going to unlock so many opportunities for all of you to do so many amazing things when you grow up.”