CFOG High School First Amendment Project off to a slow but promising start

Colleen Murphy and Jim Smith present CFOG’s First Amendment Program at Danbury High School.

By Mitchell W. Pearlman

Unfortunately, getting the CFOG High School First Amendment Program off the ground has proven to be more difficult than expected. To date, we have held only one high school presentation. That was at Danbury High School and was presented by Colleen Murphy and Jim Smith). It was a great success and they have been invited back to present the program again. We have another presentation in the planning stage at the Westminster School. Several schools said that they would like to hold the program, but multiple attempts to get them to commit to a date have failed so far. This is very disappointing, frustrating and quite frankly inexplicable.

There, however, is some good and promising news to report. On January 23rd, CFOG presented its First Amendment program at the Old State House (OSH) in Hartford. The established curriculum was reworked and presented by Denis Horgan and Dan Klau for an audience mainly of adults, although one high school class attended in person. The program was recorded thanks to the Connecticut Public Affairs Network (CPAN) and placed on YouTube. The link is and is also available on the CFOG web site,

In addition, CFOG and the State Department of Education (DOE) are in the process of organizing a webinar on the importance of the First Amendment for high school social studies teachers on which they can base their own classroom teaching. It may also encourage teachers to book the CFOG presentation in their classrooms.

On May 30th, CFOG will again be presenting at the OSH, this time to a number of Advanced Placement classes in history, government, civics or similar subjects. Hopefully that presentation will also be recorded by CPAN for viewing on YouTube and lead to more schools committing to booking our First Amendment program.

We have also received an initial offer from the state DOE to present our First Amendment program at a breakout session at the annual Connecticut Council of Social Studies Teachers Conference to be held this Fall at Central Connecticut State University. More information will be provided when it becomes available.