UCCI Course Description

English 10 Reading and Writing in Law and Public Safety

Overview Course Content Course Materials
Length of Course
Full Year (2 semesters; 3 trimesters; 4 quarters)
Subject Area - Discipline
English (B) - English
UC Honors Designation
CTE Sector
Public Services
CTE Pathway
Public Safety
Grade Level(s)
Successful completion of English 9 or equivalent


English 10: Awareness and Ethics in Law and Public Safety increases and deepens student knowledge of the content and skills of  English-Language Arts through the lens of a potential applicant in the law and public safety field. In this course, students research the complex nature of law and public safety professions in order to be prepared to enter their chosen field. Through research of legal cases and through collaborative discussion, students develop complex knowledge regarding legal and ethical dilemmas faced by those working in public safety positions. In addition to focusing on how these dilemmas affect those working in public services, students examine the effects of the results of these dilemmas on the public whom public safety professionals serve. By the end of the course, students also develop a profound understanding of the physical and psychological demands on those who serve in public safety roles.

Course Content

Unit 1 : Cultural Diversity

Unit 1 Description

Students will use their knowledge of challenges within the various law enforcement and public safety careers to build their understanding of cultural diversity and its effects on the careers.  Students will annotate sources, evaluate case studies, and participate in online discussions and a Socratic Seminar in order to expand their knowledge of cultural diversity and how that affects working in these sectors. Students will produce technical writing (memorandums, reports, etc.) and keep a record of their findings and information. Students will communicate with industry professionals in order to build their knowledge about the specific areas of which public service employees need to be culturally aware, in their communities. Students will then create a public outreach brochure to be used in a public service professional setting that addresses cultural awareness that demonstrates the student’s understanding of cultural sensitivity while working in a diverse community; each brochure will provide an overview of the diverse population and address a specific cultural conflict and the student suggested resolution.

1: Analyze Fiction and Nonfiction Sources

Students will examine both fiction and nonfiction writings chosen by the teacher to explore aspects of culture that are relevant to the function of careers in law and public safety fields. Students will look through these pieces of evidence for cultural elements that may pose difficulties to an employee in the law and public safety field. Students will document these findings while reading in note-taking format. Then, through determining correlations between these teacher chosen texts, students will develop a suggested interaction protocol within each cultural community given. Suggested fiction texts include: “The Trip” by Lalai Lalami, “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan, and “Everyday Use for Your Grandmamma” by Alice Walker. Students will submit a professional set of guidelines which will serve as a protocol when interacting within the cultural community they studied. Students will share this information with class in the form of an informal informative speech. Students will listen to speeches and collect notes from presenters/classmates.

2: Annotation of Sources “Textual Evidence”

In order for students to be able to evaluate how various cultures view law enforcement, students will examine case studies of diverse and dynamic cultures within their specific community. They will identify and select one specific culture in their surrounding communities to look more closely at the customs, traditions, potential stereotypes, special needs, religious aspects, race, and the impact it has on their chosen career path etc.. Students will share their findings on an online discussion, blog, or another applicable medium.This work prepares students for the next assignment, in which students make recommendations for working with different groups in a given public service field.

3: Public Outreach Brochure

Working in groups dedicated to examining different cultural populations, students will provide information and suggestions for working in their selected fields (chosen by students either in their previous courses of study or selected during this course from their research) with diverse populations. Potential conflicts/situations and resolutions should be addressed in order to demonstrate the students understanding and knowledge of cultural diversity and sensitivity. Students will produce a brochure on their topic using Standard English and writing conventions and showing evidence of planning and organization. Brochures should be designed to become an actual deliverable helpful to an individual working in the law and public safety careers.

Suggested Texts

  • Short Story “The Trip” by Lalai Lalami
  • Short Story “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan
  • Short Story “Everyday Use for Your Grandmamma” by Alice Walker
  • Novel Excerpt from The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • POST workbook: Learning Domain 42- Cultural Diversity/Discrimination
  • POST workbook: Learning Domain 38- Gang Awareness  

Unit 2 : Working within a Community with Diverse Needs

Building upon their knowledge about cultural awareness in their community, students will delve more deeply into the challenges faced in the professions due to diverse needs, such as homeless, LGBT, mentally ill, special needs, and physically handicapped (Other suggested topics include: language barriers, minors, foster care, universal health precautions-illnesses that can be passed through blood/ exposure to body fluids). Students will read, annotate, and discuss fiction and nonfiction pieces associated with working with diverse communities in order to delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text.

1: Annotation of Sources and Discussion Board

Students will annotate multimedia sources, readings, etc. on the topic of working with citizens/cultures with specific needs such as: homeless, LGBT, mentally ill, special needs, and physically handicapped (Other suggested topics include: language barriers, minors, foster care, universal health precautions-illnesses that can be passed through blood/ exposure to body fluids). As they research, students participate in a discussion board about the topics they are researching and texts they are annotating (mediums: online discussion boards, wikis, blog or available form of discussion board) in order to integrate and evaluate the content they and their classmates investigate, focusing their discussion/analysis on how two or more texts/points of view address similar themes or topics. Students will also analyze and apply knowledge gathered to decipher and critique political cartoons assessing how different cultures and diverse groups are portrayed and perceived by the public. Using the the rhetorical triangle (ethos, pathos, logos), students will develop short written responses which detail the cartoon author’s purpose as well as the intended impact on the audience. This work will demonstrate student ability to analyze non-written sources while still applying knowledge gleaned from previous assignments where students analyzed primarily written fiction and nonfiction sources. This skill will be directly relevant in completing subsequent assignments in this unit, as well as for them as employees in real life fields of law and public safety.

2: Rhetorical Precis

Students will further analyze texts from the previous assignment which address the topic of being a law and public safety employee working within culturally diverse communities. Using academic word choice and evidence from the texts, students will determine the genre of the writing, citing stylistic choices made by the author, in order to assess the author’s purpose for writing as well as the tone set by the author. After determining author’s purpose and tone, the student must decide on the intended audience for the text. Students use information contained in the rhetorical precis in order to participate in and provide evidence for the following Socratic Seminar and performance task.

3: Socratic Seminar

Students will participate in a Socratic Seminar on issues of working in law and public safety fields within a diverse community demonstrating their understanding of themes, issues, and conflicts present in their community as well as others. Leading questions for discussion may come from the situations depicted in the previous annotations, discussion and rhetorical precis research. Students will collaborate together through the Socratic Seminar to gain a deeper understanding, reveal misconceptions about the topics, and brainstorm together possible solutions to those misconceptions - all which come up in the group discussion based off the initial leading questions. Students will use deeper understanding derived from the Socratic Seminar to prepare for the upcoming performance task.

4: Argumentative Performance Task

Creating a resolution to a challenging scenario specific to the community’s diverse population, students will be tasked with analyzing a given situation involving a law and public safety employee serving a diverse community. Prior to writing their essay, students will analyze, annotate, and prepare their findings to use as evidence from various teacher-compiled sources. Sources should include videos of related scenarios, articles relating to scenarios, cartoons relating to scenarios, court documents relating to scenarios, and any other pertinent evidence the teacher feels are useful for students to research as part of their performance task. An example scenario might be addressing how a firefighter would approach responding to a call for a structural fire where a severely handicapped victim resides. In their argumentative essay, students will have to validate the concerns and conflicts of the scenario, discuss possible approaches and strategies that could be used in handling the situation, and then identify the resolution they feel is the most appropriate. Students will need to substantiate all claims with evidence and other writing techniques such as a counterargument. Students will present their resolution to the given scenario in an well-formatted formal argumentative essay.

Suggested Texts

  • Non-fiction Article “Court Needs Alternatives in Handling Mentally Ill” by Steve Lopez LA Times October 5, 2013 (courtesy of Kelly Gallagher)
  • Short Story “Where Have You Gone, Charming Billy?” by Tim O’Brien
  • TeacherTube videos
  • POST workbook: Learning Domain 3- Policing in the Community
  • POST workbook: Learning Domain 37- People with Disabilities

Suggested Resources

  • Rhetorical Precis template

Unit 3 : Physical and Mental Fitness

After students have learned about the community challenges employees in the law and public safety field face they will analyze scholarly journal articles to build their understanding of nutrition and preventative medical care. Students will then examine Learning Domain 32 of the California Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) program which addresses physical fitness and mental health, and apply to their career path, as well as negative factors contributing to overall wellness which can interfere with personal or professional performance. As a result of their research, as well as physical/mental fitness related interviews conducted with industry professionals, students will use their findings from scholarly informational texts to design a collaborative web page using an accessible template (i.e. Google, One Drive, etc.).

1: Research and Interviews About Personal Health Issues

In order to become knowledgeable about the potential obstacles between completing high school and entering a law or public safety field, students will research and analyze scholarly journal articles regarding health preparedness, nutrition, avoidance of reckless behavior, and general well being. Using this research, students generate interview questions and then interview both high school graduates as well as industry professionals to gain insights into the personal and mental health associated with these professions. Students will reflect on the importance of time between high school and entering an academy, as well as the physical and mental challenges and the availability of support groups for families and professionals within the fields. Students will compile a teacher-selected number of note cards bearing their collected research information using correct citation format.

2: Health and Fitness Management Plan

Students will evaluate their current health knowledge and status by completing the self- assessment provided within the POST handbook (Learning Domain 32: Fitness for Life ), then use the gained information to implement a realistic fitness plan that will aide them as they prepare to succeed in their selected field.  

3: Collaborative Web Page With Findings

After having compiled responses from interviews, information from articles, and reflecting on their individual health and fitness management plans, students will collaborate and create a webpage including: a philosophy for lifelong fitness, a discussion of mental challenges and demands associated with their selected fields, and supplemental materials (i.e. links, books, reference material). Students will demonstrate their mastery of informative writing by creating at least two informative articles which address topics pertinent to their website. Student web pages will be tasked with maintaining a formal and consistent tone demonstrating their understanding of author’s purpose and audience.

Suggested Texts

Suggested Sources for Unit- Online interactive website builder for students to access

Unit 4 : Basic Legal Practices of Law and Public Safety Fields

In this unit, students will identify and investigate legal demands and challenges within their selected job fields from a legal perspective. They will create an annotated bibliography detailing the below identified main components of legal procedures of the criminal justice system. Students will then synthesize primary and secondary documents, pieces of evidence, testimonies, etc. from various controversial court cases and use generated knowledge and conclusions to create a proposal. Based on the work they have done and their findings, students will construct an official letter to the appropriate student-identified audience addressing relevant concerns and proposed changes/improvements for criminal proceedings or legislature; this will be evident in the culminating assignment when students cite case evidence, laws involved and criminal proceedings from the specific case they investigated, and presenting a clear argument with justification for their position.

1: Annotated Bibliography

In preparation for analyzing court cases and constitutional construction involved with criminal justice and legal systems, students will review and discuss various informational texts and documents gained through research or provided by the teacher on the following topics: Due Process, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendment Rights, Miranda Rights, types of laws (infraction, misdemeanor, or felony)- consequences of these case laws (what changes in the community as far as what is legal and what isn’t), and possible relevant court cases.Students will create an annotated bibliography composed of the key information from the documents studied and based on teacher’s annotated bibliography template and should incorporate an evaluation of jargon/language used and differences between case law and statutory law.

2: Video of Case Summary and Analysis

Using the research from the previous assignment, students will communicate, prove and disseminate their findings and the relationships found between the intention of law and how it manifests itself in real life. Students will form groups to create an informative group video on one of the following topics: Due Process, 4th, 5th, 6th and 14th Amendment Rights, Miranda Rights, types of laws (infraction, misdemeanor, or felony). Videos will demonstrate the connection between the topic, intention of law, examples of application of law, and how the law manifested itself in examples. Students will collaborate on the important elements they will want to cover in their informative group video. After coming to a consensus, students will create a short informative video (2-3 minutes) on the topic they have chosen. After completing the video, it will be shown in class and compiled with other student videos to serve as a resource of illustrated case summary and analysis for the class or younger students. Students will demonstrate in their video their mastery of presenting information, findings, and supporting evidence so listeners are able to clearly follow their line of reasoning. Creating their video medium also demonstrates student ability to make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations. The videos will be then shared with an online audience and industry professionals.

3: Argumentative Case Study - Miscarriage of Justice

Using the information gained from the previous assignments, students will apply their knowledge by analyzing various primary and secondary sources from controversial court cases (e.g. Kelly Thomas Case, Ferguson, OJ Simpson, Trayvon Martin, etc.) and will compile a dialectical journal where they organize their thoughts and reactions to the outcomes of these cases. The students must distinguish between passive, aggressive, and assertive behavior and describe how body language of all parties involved plays a role while interacting with others. Students may decide throughout their research to focus on one or two specific viewpoints of those involved with the court case in order to gain more depth of analysis on these topics instead of a survey of all points of view.The students must identify potential factors that can contribute to a person’s micro-aggressions. Students should also evaluate how this analysis will affect their future career choice. Based on how the student answered the previous questions, they must answer the prompt, “Do you think justice was administered in this case? Why or why not? And defend your position”.

4: Proposal Letter

Based on the information compiled in their annotated bibliography and their analysis of the primary and secondary sources from controversial case studies (such as Kelly Thomas Case, Trayvon Martin Case, OJ Simpson Case, Eric Garner Case, etc.), students will construct an official letter to the appropriate student-identified audience addressing relevant concerns and proposed changes/improvements for criminal proceedings or legislature. This prepares students for the culminating assignment when they cite case evidence, laws involved and criminal proceedings from the specific case they investigated, and present a clear argument with justification for their position.

Suggested Texts

Something like Hope by Shawn Goodman

excerpt from Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Suggested Cases

Kelly Thomas vs. Fullerton PD articles, videos, etc.

Trayvon Martin case articles and supplemental sources

OJ Simpson case articles and supplemental sources

Ferguson articles and supplemental sources

Suggested Resources

  • LexusNexus search engine for court cases
  • Word Press Website for Video Sharing
  • animoto.com

Unit 5 : Ethics and Professionalism

Building on all knowledge gained throughout the year, students will research and identify multiple ethical issues associated with the law and public safety sectors, (for example theft or mishandling of evidence), to gain insights into ethical issues unique to their profession, as well as the impact on the profession and the public they serve. Using the information gathered, students will create an incident report in accordance with industry guidelines outlining one problematic incident/issue and use their incident report to prepare for and participate in a Socratic Seminar on ethics and professionalism within the career sector. Students will gather information from both the incident reports and Socratic Seminar, in order to create an argumentative research paper and final culminating speech about the chosen ethical dilemmas within their chosen profession. At the culmination of this unit and course, students will have gained an overarching understanding of the various demands, rigors, and challenges facing an individual in the law and public safety sector.

1: Research and Informative Essay

Students will use available resources to research and analyze various ethical issues in their selected professional field (financial responsibility,  bankruptcy, security evidence, integrity, personal behavior off duty). Student research focus is to help students gain an understanding of the types of ethical dilemmas faced by employees in their field, how such situations are handled, and the impacts from those situations on the profession, employees, and public.  Students will present their findings in an informative essay that examines and conveys the complex ideas and information they gathered in their research.

2: Incident Report

Students will select or create a situation based on the ethical issue (financial responsibility,  bankruptcy, security evidence, integrity, personal behavior off duty) that they addressed in the previous assignment that they may encounter in their future job. Students will write an incident report on an ethical situation/dilemma. The incident report must address the major elements of Who? What? Where? When? and Why? of the situation. Students will present their incident report in a small group setting with the focus that their listeners will be able to follow their line of reasoning, organization, and development of their incident report.

3: Socratic Seminar and Reflection

Based on the research students have gathered and heard through peer presentations, students will write leading questions for a Socratic Seminar. Leading questions should be focused on the ethics of the job(s), why people act and respond in various ways to various situations, popular/scholarly quotations and a question asking students to analyze the relevance of the quotations. Students will turn their Socratic Seminar leading question suggestions in to the teacher who will then select the best ones to be used for the Socratic Seminar. Students will answer the selected leading questions to come to the Socratic Seminar prepared, and will then participate in a Socratic Seminar on ethics in the law and public safety sector. Leading questions for discussion may come from the situations depicted in the incident reports created by students in the previous assignment. Students will use deeper understanding derived from the Socratic Seminar as a means to develop a focus for upcoming assignments. Additionally, after the Socratic Seminar, students will write a personal reflection about how, if in any way, their owns views on ethics have changed, been strengthened, or created due to their participation in the Socratic Seminar with their classmates.

4: Argumentative Research Paper

Using the information they have gathered from the previous assignments in this unit as well as previous units, students will write an argumentative research paper on a focused profession and ethics related topic he/she is passionate about. Students are tasked with identifying a topic, formulating a position with relevance to the law and public safety field, and convincely presenting evidence and reasoning for proposed solutions to the issues. The argumentative research paper will need to demonstrate the student’s claim about their selected issue through analysis of their research, substantive topics and/or texts the student has compiled. Valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence gathered from a variety of print and digital sources should be present and incorporated throughout the research paper. After completing the paper, the students will present their professional resolution in the form of a “How To” speech to industry professionals and other students about the ethical and professional dilemmas they may face within the field.

5: “How To” Speech

Demonstrating a culminating understanding and mastery of the course content/material, students will decide upon a profession related ethical topic to present in a formal “How To” Speech presented formally to a group of their peers, instructors and industry professionals. The topic selected previously in Assignment 4 will be the topic of their “How To” speech. Students must be able to relate the relevant and professional ethical dilemma the student may face in their future career in a formal oratory demonstrating their ability to adapt their written arguments into verbal speech format using formal English. This speech will inform others about the necessity of ethics in the workplace, specifically in a job for Law and Public Safety. Students must make the connection between the importance of ethical choices and the public they will be serving and clearly demonstrate their understanding to their audience as they present their formal “How To” Speech to their classmates, teacher, and possibly industry professionals.

Suggested Reading List

  • Novels Anthem, To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Short Story “The Man in the Water” by Roger Rosenblatt
  • POST Workbook: Learning Domain 1- Leadership, Professionalism, and Ethics
  • POST workbook: Learning Domain 18- Investigative Report Writing

Other Suggested Resources

Course Materials

Textbook Title: District-approved Literature Book

Additional resources and texts are listed under each specific unit.

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