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Monday, June 25, 2007
School censorship
The Supreme Court ruled against a former high school student Monday in the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner case -- a split decision that limits students' free speech rights.

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Should schools be allowed to censor students?
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The question here should have read, "Should schools be allowed to censor students while they are off campus?" I expect you'd get a far different poll result if people were asked the same thing the Supreme Court was charged with deciding recently.
Once again, this is a result of a government that is so dysfunctional it has to use fear to control the masses by creating laws that encumber free-thought. Our children are meant to be raised to question authority when it cannot function and instead, create better laws that are designed to address intelligent thinking and purposeful missions that make living life a joyful experience instead of an oppressive and fear-based one dimensional existence in day-to-day living. A fascist state is what we cannot create to in an attempt to avoid raising our children. We must take resposibility, beginning at home.
This is not a Yes or No question. I belive a school has the responsibility to curtail speech that advocates violence, intolerance, or blatant illegal activity. "Bong hits for Jesus", while certainly a sophmoric flag to get attention...was hardly creating unrest, violence, or a mad rush to drug use. People with any common sense at all could see it for what it was. What a shame that the principal was so narrow minded and priggish. She without a doubt gave it FAR more exposure than it ever would have garnered left on its own to be a single line blurb in the local newspaper. The young man who created the banner is in China teaching the english language..making a difference. Madame principal is meanwhile ever vigilant for trivial, inconsequential language use that offends her limited intellect.
When did the train of democracy and free speech get pushed off onto a siding somewhere while paranoid school officials rewrote the Constitution? While I think the young man's poster was ill conceived and offensive on multiple levels- for the case to go as far as it did is just mind boggling. School officials should not be allowed to restrict any behavior off school grounds, property or functions. I accept that rules and boundaries are necessary in the confines of school buildings, campuses, sanctioned function. That's what allows society to function free from chaos. What a student says, or writes, out of the school- should be protected under the right of free speech. Yet again, this is an example of smoke and mirrors- throw attention off the sadly deficient educational system in the richest country in the world. Supporting the students' right to express himself, and offering constructive avenues would serve the higher purpose here. In a place where parental imput and guidance is a rarity, rather than the norm, I fully appreciate that schools have become reluctant parental figures- but- a golden opportunity was missed here to give direction to a young man who may be destined to do great things, if the proper path were to be shown to him. More and more every day life is being adjudicated by entities that have no business in the private lives of citizens. Schools should abdicate their parental role and place it squarely where it belongs- on the parents. We lack accountablity in our current society. Everything is a 'do-over', or couched with a mild 'mea culpa'. Haven't we seen enough of the negative results of second, third, fourth etc. chances? This young man learned that he will be subject to legal judgment for his thoughts- and that makes me afraid- very afraid.
The relevant question here is whether schools should be allowed to censor someone who is not on school property. The reasonable answer is no.
Despite the pool results (virtually 2 to 1) in favor, I side with Jackie in San Francisco. If the school was so anguished by the student's actions, it should have quietly asked the students' parents to come in and discuss the infraction and from that meeting decided what the appropriate response should be.
jackie is exactly right, and this is just another reason why i am seriously considering homeschooling my children when they reach school age. it's pretty obvious that this country wants sheep for citizens and i will be damned if i let my children join the flock.
I think this whole idea is just the beginning to the end of personal freedoms. Students are meant to learn to think for themselves, to question things, to grow up to be independent. And now the government is cracking down on what we can say, think and do. And I think that is just a bad idea...
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