The Justice Bell Foundation Education Initiative
The goal of the Justice Bell Foundation Education Initiative is to educate youth on the importance of the American women’s suffrage movement so that they will be inspired to become civic leaders. We tell the dramatic story of how the Justice Bell became an icon of the women’s suffrage movement.
After listening to a presentation about the Justice Bell and the women’s suffrage movement and watching a video, students are asked to create an art project using the Justice Bell in any creative way they want to answer the question “What does justice mean to me?”
Few people are aware of the existence of the Justice Bell and its role in the struggle for women’s suffrage. Now, students and their families know about the Justice Bell, the 19th Amendment, and the importance of the women’s suffrage movement. We believe a story about a bell is the perfect way to introduce children to this important chapter in American history.
Our program-packet includes written materials, worksheets with project ideas, and a short documentary. When the program is finished, we give awards in a ceremony attended by the community and the award-winners’ families.
Feedback from Students and Teachers
In order for my kids to be better thinkers, they learn to trust that our classroom allows for their unique voice, and they grow to know that every one of them belongs in our space and has something to contribute. The students now understand the importance of a simple bell right here in Southeastern Pennsylvania that became an iconic symbol of justice and helped to secure the passage of the 19th Amendment.
~Michele Stingle, Justice Bell Foundation Education Director and Colonial Middle School 8th grade English teacher
I am thrilled to be able to share that my special education, middle school class finished our study of Justice and the women who fought for it, including Katharine Wentworth Ruschenberger and the Justice Bell. My students talked about their projects and about what Justice meant to them to the entire school on June 16, 2022. This was such a rewarding experience for my students and for me. I had the opportunity to see my kids really express an opinion about a fundamental principle to our democracy. They were then able to create a unique representation that embodied their new-found understanding. Thank you so much for lighting this fire in me and in my students. I am hopeful that, after hearing our story and seeing our pictures, other schools outside of Pennsylvania will lead their own studies focusing on Justice and Women's Rights.
~ Denice Welch, 12:1:2 Special Education Teacher, Cosgrove Middle School, Spencerport, New York
I learned what this bell symbolized to women during this time period and how much they had to struggle to obtain equal rights. I also learned that this bell was used to help women fight for the right to vote. ~Student
I learned that there had been women who stood up for women's rights. Even though many suffered because of the people opposing them, they didn’t give up. The Justice Bell was a symbol for the women and others fighting for women's rights. ~Student
I learned about how women were treated while they were trying to get there rights. I learned of the horrible ways they treated the women in prison for silently protesting. ~Student
I learned what the Justice Bell meant to so many women and why it was so important in changing women's rights. ~Student
Through this project, I witnessed students embark on creative explorations into the notion of justice and how it permeates every facet of American life. Students created innovative representations of justice in all its forms and came to understand the fairness and equality that should be bestowed on all people, regardless of any differences they may have; they realized that justice is for us all, not simply the privileged. ~Josh Rothstein, Colonial Middle School 8th grade ELA teacher
What makes the Justice Bell Project unique is that it allows all students to succeed. Regardless of intellect, artistic ability, or physical/emotional challenges, each student is able to create a project that highlights their opinions and strengths. ~Suzanne Slattery, Colonial Middle School 8th grade English teacher