August 10, 2007
Summer Leadership Intern Program students offer testimony in mock legislative hearing
Should sixth grade girls be required to receive a vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) before being allowed to attend school? Does the state have the right to require a vaccination for a disease that is not airborn and therefore cannot be passed from student to student in a classroom environment? Do we have an obligation to protect young people from the threat of cervical cancer if we have access to a drug that will do so? How would we pay for another required immunization for uninsured individuals? Summer Leadership Intern Program (SLIP) students raised and debated those questions and many more when they participated in a mock legislative hearing on House Bill 81. The bill, introduced on February 28, 2007 by Representative Edna Brown (D) from Toledo, would require that girls entering the sixth grade be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) and to create the HPV Immunization Advisory Committee.
Senator Ray Miller (D) from Columbus presided over the mock legislative hearing. Established in 1994, SLIP is a partnership between the Columbus Public Schools and the Columbus Bar Association. The program offers students a chance to work as paid interns in law firms and government agencies so that they can obtain a first-hand view of the legal profession. The program is organized by Barbara Wainer and Joetta Gregory, SLIP Coordinators from Columbus Pubic Schools, with assistance from The Honorable James E. Green and Vicki Jenkins, Esq., who is general counsel of the State Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities and Jennifer Adair, Esq., former SLIP student and current attorney with Ohio Attorney General, Health & Human Services.
Coupled with the work experience is an intense educational program that includes studying the legal system; visiting the United States District Court, The Supreme Court of Ohio, and the Ohio Court of Claims; meeting with judges and attorneys; and participating in a mock trial; and testifying at the mock legislative hearing. Student attendance is also required at several pre-program workshops designed to prepare the teens for employment in a professional environment. Dress code, ethics, communication, and creative problem-solving are among the topics covered during these sessions.
Students offering testimony in the hearing include Kylee Adams (Eastmoor Academy), Adrianna Braden (Eastmoor Academy), Kailyn Croston (Independence High School), Cierra Howard (Marion-Franklin High School), Carolina Peguero (Fort Hayes), Camille Pleasant (Eastmoor Academy/NECC), and Desiree Woodfork (Independence High School).