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WACO Teacher Receives State Civil Rights and Liberties Award

Posted: Saturday, November 18th, 2017 at 6:20 am
Author: KCII News - Sam McIntosh

Photo courtesy of WACO School District

“Speak your mind, even when your voice shakes,” these are the words spoken by senior citizen rights activist Maggie Kuhn, and this is a quality a WACO teacher tries to instill in her students.

American Government teacher Renea Reichenbach is the first recipient of the Civil Rights/Civil Liberties: Excellence in Teaching Award given at the Iowa Council for the Social Studies (ICSS) Conference. This award is given to a teacher who inspires students to be fully informed about their civil rights and civil liberties assured by the Constitution.

A graduate of WACO, Reichenbach has taught for 19 years, 15 of them at WACO, “I love, love teaching about the Constitution and I feel so lucky at WACO that I get to do it for a full year. The state only requires one semester of American Government, WACO requires a full year and I think our students come out as educated citizens.”

Reichenbach believes she has never taught the same way over the last 19 years. She encourages students to speak their beliefs in the classroom without fear of being judged, “I really want to help create students who feel like they have a voice, and who speak up on the little things in their day-to-day lives because that makes a difference right here right now.”

The highlight of the ICSS Conference for Reichenbach was talking with free speech activist Mary Beth Tinker, known for the 1969 Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District Supreme Court Case that allowed students to wear black armbands protesting the Vietnam War.