Dialogues on Freedom

The committee develops, promotes, and administers discussions in high school classrooms throughout Los Angeles County that educate on and critically examine the Constitutional civil liberties and values fundamental to the American system of government.  Founded following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and to honor Constitution Day, the materials are revised yearly in light of current events and issues.  Dialogues are conducted by teams of volunteer lawyers and judges.


Inspiring and educating students about the law and their constitutional freedoms 

LACBA proudly announces a new collaboration with the Constitutional Rights Foundation to broaden the reach of the Dialogues program.  This important program fosters conversation and debate focused on the preservation of American liberties and values. Volunteer lawyers and judges lead Dialogues sessions at high schools across Los Angeles County. Your participation on either or both days will provide students the chance to meet and interact with lawyers and judges, many for the first time, while engaging in lively and timely discussions about their constitutional rights and protections.


2018 Dialogues on Freedom Flyer



Held on April 27 and 28 at Public High Schools throughout Southern California

Commemorating the tragedy of September 11, 2001, the need to inspire and educate our young people about the law and constitutional freedoms has never been greater.

The program reached 48 classrooms in 15 schools throughout Los Angeles County, including for the first time, an LA County Probation Camp school.  The volunteer attorneys and judges truly enjoy the experience as evidenced in their comments:

One volunteer wrote:

"I’m so glad this program exists to get kids thinking and talking about fundamental rights.  I’ll plan to volunteer next year for sure. "  

Another volunteer wrote:

"The kids were really engaged and smart as whips!   Besides the 1st Amendment Free speech issue, they saw and discussed issues relating to 4th Amd. Protection against unreasonable search and seizure and the 8th Amd. protection against cruel and unusual punishment."

Students Debate the Balance of Personal Freedom and Security with Judges and Lawyers

On April 26 & 27, 2017, more than 85 judges and attorneys led over 1,000 high school students in classroom debates about freedom, civil liberties and the American system of government as part of the Dialogues on Freedom, a collaboration of LACBA, the Los Angeles Superior Court and Los Angeles Unified School District. Founded in 2002 by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Dialogues on Freedom was created to provide students with an opportunity to explore the concepts of freedom, law and justice by putting them into scenarios that students might experience at school, at home or in their neighborhoods.  For many of these students, it was the first time they were able to interact with judges and attorneys in a casual atmosphere.

This was  the 16th year for LACBA’s Dialogues on Freedom program with attorneys and judges addressing topics in the classroom  such as free speech, the right to privacy, dress codes and social media posts to generate interesting and relevant discussions that impact students’ daily lives. There are no wrong or right answers. Students have an opportunity to share their opinions with each other as to whether teachers, principals, city officials or police have the right and/or obligation to intervene in situations students view as an infringement on their personal freedom.  This year’s scenarios included:

  • Suspending a student who violated the school’s anti-bias rule by yelling a gay slur at a high school football game;
  • Police administering a breathalyzer test to a group of students suspected of drinking at a school picnic;
  • Suspending students for a Halloween-related Facebook post stating “Blood will flow in the hallways”;
  • Requiring students to wear a Smart ID Card containing a GPS locator chip that allows school staff to track the location of students on and off campus; and
  • Do schools have the right to load laptops that are part of a laptop loaner program with spyware that can monitor and record student activities at home.


Thank you to all participants:

A special thank you to our Dialogues on Freedom Committee:

Hon. Kevin S. Rosenberg


Rasha G. Shields Esq


Kenneth P. Corhan, Esq


Mark Elinson


Joseph L. Gonzalez, Esq


Hon. Peter A. Hernandez


Thank you to the schools, teachers, and volunteers that participated:
School Teacher Volunteers

Banning High School

Jennifer Osorio

Mani Dabiri,
Hon. Thomas Long

Belmont High School

Walter Pineda

Alfonso Ortega

Dorothy Kirby Center

Joseph Gonzalez
Hon. Kevin Rosenberg

Dorsey High School

Don Singleton

Carla Ford
Andrew Said

Esteban Torres High School

Claudia Verduzco

Hon. Michelle Williams Court
Hon. Peter Hernandez
Blythe Lezkay
Hon. Richard Rico
Hon. David Rosen
Gary Tavetian
Hon. Shelly Torrealba

Fairfax High School Robert O'Hare
Mark Rhomberg
Bonnie Robinson
Michael Rubin

David Angeloff
John Brockmeier
Jennifer Chou
Susan DeWitt
Lara Drino
Joshua Groban
Kevin Hosn
Nancy Mikhail
Karen Ruckert
Richard Schwartz
Rasha Gerges Shields
Karina Bess Sterman

Franklin High School Yim Tam

Don Chomiak
Ashley Feder
Hon. Elizabeth Feffer
Elisa Fernandez
David Marsh
Hon. Ralph Ongkeko
Larry Wiener

Humanities and Arts Academy
of Los Angeles ("HARTS")
Michael Denman

Paul Bruguera
Jennifer Rosenfeld

Lincoln High School Danny Garcia

Kenneth O’Brien, Jr.
Hon. Thomas Rubinson

Mendez High School Jackie Gonzales

David Lash
Judge Anthony Mohr

Monroe High School Steven Dixon
Willie Hence
Mathew Oliphant

Elayne Berg-Wilion
Hon. Firdaus Dordi
Hon. Alan Friedenthal
Jonathan Galatzan
H. John Khoukaz
Hon. Elaine Mandel
Adrienne McKay
Klint James McKay
Monica Tait
Aaron Weisman
Geoff Wilson

Narbonne High School Deepshikha Ahlawat
Felisia Isakson
Erik Nielson

Catherine Ahn
Don Hammond
Miley Huntley
Tim Laske
Stephanie Pham
Ami Sheth Sagel
Keith Scheuer
William Tortu
Hon. Michael Wilner

North Hollywood High School Paul Landau

Angela Machala
Richard Niederberg

San Fernando High School Emilio Rivas

Jon Birdt
Michael Booser
Anna Brief
Hon. James Kaddo

University High School Jack Morgan
Shama Multani

Veronica Alegria
Jenifer Anisman
Thomas Sean Butler
John Gordon
Jeanne Irving
Marvin Lanter
Mona Miller
Nili Moghaddam
Robert Moss
Cathy Ostiller
Ilona Peltyn
Jeffrey Spitz
Jeffrey Wolf
Hon. Mark Young


We especially want to thank all of the volunteer judicial officers and attorneys who 
participated in LACBA's Dialogues on Freedom in 2017!