The Alabama Center for Law & Civic Education (ACLCE) is a resource and training center dedicated to educating young citizens in civic knowledge in law and government. Since 1990, ACLCE has provided school and community based programs, including We the People (national constitutional law program), Teen Court (peer sentencing court), Street Law (practical law and civic responsibilities curriculum), Project Citizen (public policy action program) and Play by the Rules (PBR). PBR was created by ACLCE to address an otherwise unmet need to teach youth state-specific law as it applies to them.

Every child deserves to grow up in a safe environment with a chance to become a productive, law abiding citizen. Juvenile delinquency is a prevalent threat to our children and communities.

Holding kids accountable to the law without teaching them the law is not working. Kids can't play the game if they don't know the rules. PBR is the only program of its kind to provide state specific law-related education. Other states have online or print publications that duplicate in part the content of PBR (e.g., driver's manual, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and "when you turn 18" information, etc.). However, none of these programs combines the comprehensive student handbook, teacher and community training, teaching methodologies, and parental involvement of PBR.

PBR is a promising award winning program to teach law to youth to develop their sense of civic responsibility and provide them with the tools they need to prevent crime, save lives and build safer communities. Developed in 2001 in collaboration with the Alabama Department of Education, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Alabama Department of Youth Services, this innovative program is periodically updated and consists of a color-illustrated student book and a teacher guide.

The present program is based on a 72-page question and  answer, illustrated book and teacher guide that address morethan 200 laws. The book and teacher guide are periodically updated and distributed to seventh graders and their teachers. The student handbook is designed for use by middle school students in public, private, and home schools, by incarcerated youth in the juvenile justice system, andby youth in community settings such as scouting or church youth groups. The content is balanced and focuses on the law as it is actually written and enforced, and the curriculum in the teacher's guide provides multiple opportunities to teach both rights and responsibilities.

Young people are introduced to this program by teachers and community resource persons, attorneys, law enforcement officers, judges, trained parent volunteers, and other knowledgeable community leaders. Law-related education emphasizes the need to build stronger relationships between youth and law enforcement. This program is designed to do just that by recommending a resource person for each lesson.

Outreach to parents and the community also plays a large role in the PBR program. During the two-week program, parents and other family members are involved in "Taking Home the Law" lessons. Parental involvement in any education setting is strongly recommended and PBR has included a parental component to encourage parents to be active in their children's education. A letter to parents is sent home with students to introduce them to the program and to encourage their involvement. Teachers are provided with a list of ideas for parental involvement ideas and a response form for parental feedback and suggestions.