Narrator #1: Mr. Sandwich’s third grade class is outside at recess. D. J. is on the
swings next to Darnell.
D. J.: Psst. Darnell. Look at my new comic I wrote at the writing station.
Darnell: What’s it called?
D. J. It’s called Burger Boy. It’s about a boy who gets super-powers after eating a
radioactive hamburger. He shoots hamburgers and french fries out of his fists at his
arch enemy, Shreya the Shrimp.
Darnell: Quiet! Shreya will hear you. You know she and the other girls hate it
when we use their names in our stories.
Shreya: What are you guys talking about? I heard you saying my name.
Amy: Yeah, I heard it too. What are you hiding behind your back, D. J.?
D. J. It’s nothing.
Elizabeth: He has a comic behind his back, Shreya. I saw him talking to Darnell
and they were laughing about you.
Mr. Sandwich: What’s going on? What’s the matter, Shreya?
Shreya: D. J. and Darnell are making fun of me and they are making me upset!
Mr. Sandwich: D. J.? Is that true?
D. J.: No. I wasn’t making fun of her at all. See, I just wrote a comic and I made up
a character named Shreya the Shrimp. It isn’t really about Shreya. I just used her
Amy: Yeah, but Shreya doesn’t like it when you use her name. You know she cried
the last time you wrote a song with her name in it.
D. J. But I used your name, Amy. You didn’t care.
Amy: I don’t care, but she does and you have to do what she wants. You’re
bullying her if you use her name.
Brandy: Mr. Sandwich, I think I have a solution to this problem. We could make it
against the law to use people’s names in stories unless they give you permission.
Then kids like Shreya would be happy, but Amy could still have her name in
stories because she doesn’t care.
Amy: Yeah, Mr. Sandwich. I think that’s a good solution.
Mr. Sandwich: Well, I like how you’ve come up with a solution that would make
everybody happy, but it’s not that simple to just make something illegal. First,
there has to be a law against using certain names in stories.
Shreya: Well I like the idea. I say we make it a law. What do we have to do?
Brandy: Wait. Shreya, do you remember that cartoon we watched about turning a
bill into a law?
Darnell: I remember. When you have an idea, you have to ask someone in the
government to type it up or something.
Brandy: I know. You have to ask a representative to turn it into a bill.
D. J. What’s a representative?
Mr. Sandwich: A representative is someone in our state government who
represents, or speaks for regular people like you and me. You could write to our
state representative and see if they could make your idea into a bill. If a lot of
representatives like your idea, they’ll send it to the governor. If he likes it, it would
be illegal for anyone to use Shreya’s name in a story.
Illinois General Assembly – Springfield, Illinios
Representative #1: Listen to this. I just got an e-mail from a third grade girl in
Representative #2: What does it say?
Representative #1: I’ll read it to you:
The boys in my class keep using my name in songs and stories and I don’t
like it. Sometimes I cry because I’m so upset. Can you pass a law that makes
it illegal for people to use your name in a story or song if you don’t want
Representative #3: Excuse me. I couldn’t help overhearing that letter. I think that’s
a good idea.
Representative #4: I know what this little girl is talking about. When I was in
school, people used my name in rhyming poems and it hurt my feelings.
Representative #1: I don’t know. Even though it might hurt this little girl’s
feelings, we have freedom of speech. It’s in our state constitution.
Representative #4: I believe in freedom of speech, but I think using a little girl’s
name in a story is wrong. If it hurts her feelings, I think it should be illegal.
Narrator #2: The representatives voted in the Illinois General Assembly. They
voted yes to the bill. But the representatives are only one branch of the state
Narrator #3: That branch is called the Legislative branch. They make up the bills,
but the governor has to sign it to make that bill a law.
Narrator #4: The governor is the head of the Executive Branch. He or she signs the
bills into laws.
Governor: Hmm. I have a bill on my desk that passed in the Legislative Branch.
Let me see if I should sign it. Oh no. Poor little girl. I have a daughter in the third
grade too. I would hate for my daughter to cry because some boy was writing her
name in a song. I’m going to sign this bill into law.
Narrator #1: The next day in school, Mr. Sandwich read the news to his students.
Mr. Sandwich: Everybody to the carpet. Listen to this! Shreya’s bill has been made
into a law. I’m sorry, D. J., but you’re going to have to get permission from now
on before you use someone’s name in one of your comics.
D. J. I can’t believe this. Wait until I tell my parents.
Darnell: Your mom is a lawyer. Maybe he can help you.
Narrator #2: Later that night, D. J. talked to his mom, Mrs. Huxtable.
Mrs. Huxtable: What? I can’t believe the governor signed that bill into a law.
Hasn’t he heard of freedom of speech? It’s a good thing there is a third branch of
government. Do you know what it is, D. J.?
D. J. Is it the one with the judges?
Mrs. Huxtable: That’s right, son. It’s the judicial branch. I’m taking your case to
the Illinois Supreme Court.
Narrator #3: One month later, the Illinois Supreme Court heard D. J.’s case. Guess
who D. J.’s lawyer was? That’s right. It was his mom.
Mrs. Huxtable: Your honors, the Illinois Constitution has been violated. It says
here in the Bill of Rights, that “All persons may speak, write and publish freely.”
Justice #1: Thank you, Mrs. Huxtable. We’ll talk it over and let you know our
Justice #2: I agree with Mrs. Huxtable. Even though I feel bad for the little girl, D.
J. does have freedom of speech.
Justice #3: Yes. I feel that freedom of speech is important. The next thing we
know, it will be illegal to speak out against things we disagree with.
Justice #1: I’m afraid I disagree. I think the little girl should be protected from
having her name in a story. I like freedom of speech, but I think there should be
Justice #2: Well, we’ll have to vote for it.
Narrator #4: More of the judges said that the new law was unconstitutional. That
means that Shreya’s new law isn’t allowed because the constitution says that
people in Illinois can have free speech.
Narrator #1: The next day, Mr. Sandwich’s class heard the news.
Mr. Sandwich: Ok. Listen up. Do you remember when I told you that Shreya’s law
was passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor? Well, now that law has
been found unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court.
Brandy: What does that mean?
Darnell: It means that it went against the constitution, which is the law of Illinois.
You can’t pass a law if it goes against the constitution.
Amy: But I thought the governor was the boss of everyone.
Mr. Sandwich: No. All three branches of government have the same power. No
one is more important. Each branch checks up on the other one. That’s called
“Checks and Balances.”
Shreya: But I don’t want my name in songs.
Mr. Sandwich: Have you tried talking to D. J.?
D. J. It’s okay, Shreya. I can see how much it means to you and I won’t use your
Shreya: Well you might be able to if you ask me.
D. J. Okay. Can I use “Shreya the Shrimp” in my Burger Boy comic?
Shreya: You can, but only if she’s a superhero.
Narrator #2: The next day, D. J. read his comic to the class. It was all about Burger
Boy and his sidekick, Shreya the Super-shrimp battling their arch enemy who
shoots slices of ham and turkey from his mouth: The Evil Dr. Sandwich!!