A NSW Origin supporter gets into a bar fight and accidentally cut a woman’s face, and a country music fan is busted with cannabis after a sniffer dog jumps up on him as he walks home from a party.
These are two of the scenarios Year 12 students had to weigh up when two University of New England law lecturers led a legal studies day yesterday.
About 40 Farrer and Oxley High students took part in the day at Farrer, after their teachers enlisted the help of UNE School of Law associate lecturer Paul Sattler and senior lecturer Julia Werren.
Mrs Werren spoke to the students about why law was important and what it was like to study it at university.
She also spoke with them about euthanasia and the legal implications of social media posts.
“We talked about the advantages and disadvantages of legalising voluntary euthanasia and the difference between withdrawal of life and euthanasia,” she said.
“I have to say all of the students were incredible: they were really thoughtful, intelligent, asked really insightful questions and were clearly interested.
“What was really good was they were looking at the law in a different way – rather than just being rules-based, looking at how the law actually impacts upon people and real-life situations, and how there can be a difference between what ought to happen and what does actually happen.”
They also spoke about some of the legal considerations of posting to social media.
“There’s a common perception that you can put anything on social media … without there being any ramifications,” Mrs Werren said.
“These students, most of them said, ‘That’s not right, you can’t’.
“It was clear to me that they’d obviously thought a lot about these issues … I was surprised at the level of understanding in terms of that.”
‘We couldn’t shut ’em up’
Mr Sattler spoke about the nature of crime, the criminal investigation process and sentencing.
“I looked at their curriculum and I was surprised – it’s much more academically rigorous than I would have thought,” he said.
“It’s not first-year uni stuff, but it’s not far short.
“And these kids are engaged … we couldn’t shut ’em up.”
Mr Sattler said the UNE lecturers were keen to do more sessions along these lines.
“Anything that we can do to improve our ties with the community, we’ll do and we’re happy to do it; it’s part of our community service as a tertiary institution.”
Mrs Werren said she wanted to “give a plug” to legal studies teachers, Farrer’s Dan Daley and Oxley’s Chris Walsh.
“They approached us about this, which to me indicates they really care about giving the kids a good experience, and they’ve gone above and beyond,” she said.
“To see these young people here – thoughtful, intelligent … it’s just been the most wonderful experience, it really has been.”
Mr Daley said he thought the students “got a lot out of having the experts from UNE here”.
“As a teacher you’re just sort of pumping through the content, but having a day like this where we can actually tease out issues a bit more … is really outstanding.”