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Teachable moment found in a bag of chips

JES holds mock trial over Fourth Amendment rights


    Jasper Elementary School students in Courtroom A of the Pickens County Courthouse. Students in Mrs. Darlene Crenshaw’s class took part in a mock trial while other JES 5th graders looked on.

“My client, Clay Shoffer, has been wronged,” said the Jasper Elementary School 5th grade student who acted as council for another student who alleged his teacher, Mrs. Crenshaw, violated his Fourth Amendment rights.

    This was part of the opening statement of a mock trial held at the Pickens County Courthouse last Friday, Oct. 4 after Shoffer ate chips in class during the moment of silence on 9/11.
    “This is a case where the teacher took something that would have ordinarily been a discipline issue and made it a teachable moment,” Pickens County Chief Magistrate Judge Allen Wigington said in an earlier interview. 
    Mrs. Crenshaw’s class has spent the past month educating themselves about the Fourth Amendment and preparing for the trial.  
    “He was eating Cool Ranch Doritos in social studies class when Mrs. Crenshaw snatched them out of his hand,” Shoffer’s council told Judge Wigington and student jurors. “We aim to prove that Clay’s Fourth Amendment [right] was violated.”
    The defense countered.
    “Clay claims Mrs. Crenshaw stole his Cool Ranch Doritos,” they argued. “Would a reasonable person think this is theft? The teachers do their job by ‘in loco parentis’ to teach them character and respect for others.”
    The entire 5th grade student body from JES attended and heard from witnesses - which included students, Shoffer’s mother and JES principal Carlton Wilson - and saw evidence as it was presented by the defense.
     Mrs. Crenshaw was eventually cleared of the allegation, but Wigington thanked Shoffer for “respectfully questioning authority.”

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