If you are like me than you probably have school aged children who are looking forward to this week more than Christmas, more than birthdays, well pretty much more than anything. This week marks the end of school for thousands of Orange County Public school students who after Wednesday will begin a ten-week festival known as Summer Break. But if you are also like me just because your kids are on summer break does not mean your work grinds to a halt as well. While we all would love to call it a day and spend the next three months parked in front of the television playing video games and watching superhero movies, we cannot. Well, here at the Center for Law and Policy we are not taking the summer off either.

Our summer events begin on Friday, June 14, 2019, when we host a PTSD summit of leaders from law enforcement agencies around Central Florida. The event is meant to commemorate the anniversary of the Pulse tragedy and build upon our work from last year’s PTSD summit. While the Center for Law and Policy got the conversation going in 2018, we want to continue the discussion by planning an even bigger event for the fall. To maximize the chances of success, we are starting our planning early by meeting with the heads of local agencies to tailor our speakers to the needs of first responders who put their lives on the line every day answering calls.

Two Fridays later on June 28, 2019, we will be hosting a second event to cater to another vital resource in our community. This time our focus will be on our K-12 school teachers. On this date, the Center for Law and Policy is hosting its very first teach-in where we are providing an all-day seminar, free of charge, for any central Florida teacher interested in incorporating mock trials into the classroom. The event will include step by step instruction on how to teach trial techniques in the classroom, how to create assignments to prepare students to conduct their own trial, and end with teachers pairing with UCF mock trial kids to put a trial itself.

Finally, the week of July 23, 2019, will find the Center for Law and Policy hosting its very first Legal Studies Summer camp. Camp Law and Order will be offered to students from Jones and Evans High Schools who may want to pursue a career in the legal world. At no cost to the student, the week will begin with a tour of our criminal justice system and followed by tours of City Hall and Legal Aid. Professors from Valencia’s Paralegal Program, UCF’s Legal Studies Program, and FAMU College of Law will speak to the students about how to tailor their education to obtain the appropriate degrees needed to be a part of the legal field. The week will conclude with the high school students putting on a mock trial presided by the Honorable Tanya Wilson for their friends and family.

And of course, just because it is summer, the Center’s website won’t be down either. Each week we will continue to blog about important issues in legal policy. You will also find a Practitioner’s Pointer for the month on July and August. (June’s is already up). Bottom line you can continue to count on the Center for Law and Policy to be making an impact through contact even if our kids are sleeping in. And of course if you know anyone who would benefit from these programs, please have them contact me at marc.consalo@ucf.edu. Have a great summer everyone and thanks for your support!

-By Marc Consalo, Director of the Center for Law and Policy