February 22, 2005

Censored – But Why?

A group of students, formerly members of an eighth-grade gifted class, will finally get their day in court. The issue is the heavy hand of censorship. And for the life of me, I cannot figure out why it came to this.
Now high schoolers, the 27 students haven't backed down. They're suing for damages and asking the school to expunge records of any disciplinary action against them for the 2003 episode.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve gave their case steam by certifying the students as a different kind of class -- the kind that can legally seek damages by attaining class action status.

The Chicago Board of Education had asked for students to submit to depositions before the class status was determined, but when St. Eve denied the motion, board attorneys said they would no longer oppose class certification. St. Eve quickly asked if the two sides could settle now that the students have the status, their attorney Irene Dymkar said.

The issue centers on a 2003 vote for a class shirt at the school, 5025 N. Laramie. Students believed one concept won: The name "Gifties" written on the back and a caricature of a boy walking a dog on the front. But school administrators didn't like the design and kept the election results secret, telling students to take another vote, according to the federal complaint.

The students, who were in the gifted program, challenged the election and asked the school to disclose the results. Students and parents said they didn't get anywhere, so students decided to wear the "Gifties" design they believed won.

Though students were asked not to wear the design to school, they wore the shirts anyway in protest.

"That's when the principal told them they'd be suspended for five to seven days," violating the students' First Amendment right to free speech, Dymkar said.
However, none of the students was suspended.

Now it seems to me that this is a clear case of overreaction. I can see no way in which the shirt design could be deemed offensive. The parents involved were supportive of the design, and supported the students in their actions against what appears to be an arbitrary and unreasonable abuse of discretion. And the administration freaked out. They went off on a group of CHILDREN!

Look at the actions taken against them.

Dymkar said Principal Chris N. Kotis did try to punish them. The students say Kotis confined them to their classrooms and denied them access to different parts of the school. Administrators wouldn't allow them to use the bathroom unless they removed the shirts, according to the students.

At one point, they were forced to write an essay describing whether they felt worthy of using the computer lab, the lawsuit says. Later, the school allegedly threatened disciplinary action against any student who signed a petition supporting the T-shirt.

Denial of bathroom privileges over the design on a shirt? That gets into a question of health and hygiene. And determining whether or not they are “worthy” of using academic resources paid for by taxpayer dollars? Perhaps they should have gone the next step and denied them use of textbooks and the pencil sharpener.

And then there is the big screw-up – the threat to punish kids for signing a petition. Unless it was being circulated in class and causing a serious disruption, that is simply out of line. Remember, Tinker v. Des Moines enunciated a clear principle – students do not shed their rights at the schoolhouse gate. The right to petition government officials and employees for the redress of grievances is fundamental to our system of government, and yet these folks sought to punish peaceful and civil activities that should have been encouraged by an institution intended to educate citizens in a free society. That is unacceptable, as anyone who has taken a course in education law in the last three decades would know.

Of even greater concern is that the school has denied parents access to student records. Given that the school was keeping a list of “troublemakers” who wore the shirt and was engaging in abusive practices to coerce conformity, it is reasonable for parents to want to see what has been entered in the multitude of files the school keeps on their children. More to the point, it is their right under state and federal law to see such records. So this isn’t just a dress code issue blown out of proportion – it is an assertion of the rights of parents to oversee the education of their children, and to dispute inaccurate or prejudicial information in their records.

As you can see, what started as a relatively trivial matter has become a situation of very serious concern – because a school administrator didn’t like having his authority challenged. I hope he pays personally and professionally, and that the district that enabled him to do so does as well.

And I still don’t get what the big deal was over the design.

|| Greg, 08:15 PM || Permalink || Comments (0) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Trackback Information for Censored – But Why?

TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference 'Censored – But Why?'.

Comments on Censored – But Why?

Post a comment

Remember personal info?




Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards
Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2013 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2012 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2011 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2010 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2009 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Posts by Category

Announcements (posts: 13)
Blogging (posts: 187)
Border Issues & Immigration (posts: 421)
deferred (posts: 4)
Education (posts: 685)
Entertainment & Sports (posts: 483)
Guns & Gun Control (posts: 65)
History (posts: 329)
Humor (posts: 88)
Israel/Middle East (posts: 44)
Medical News (posts: 54)
Military (posts: 273)
News (posts: 1570)
Paid Advertising (posts: 234)
Personal (posts: 108)
Politics (posts: 5261)
Race & Racism (posts: 281)
Religion (posts: 819)
Terrorism (posts: 884)
Texas GOP Platform Reform Project (posts: 4)
The Courts (posts: 310)
Watcher's Council (posts: 482)
World Affairs (posts: 345)


January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
December 0000



Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Powered By

Powered by
Movable Type 2.64

Administrative Stuff

Email Me
Syndicate this site (XML)

Advertising Disclosure


About Me

NAME: Greg
AGE: 50-ish
SEX: Male
OCCUPATION: Social Studies Teacher
LOCATION: Seabrook, TX
DISCLAIMER: All posts reflect my views alone, and not the view of my wife, my dogs, my employer, or anyone else. All comments reflect the view of the commenter, and permitting a comment to remain on this site in no way indicates my support for the ideas expressed in the comment.

Search This Site

Support This Site

Recent Entries

Who Is Regan Theiler And Why Was She Allowed To Spend Public Funds On A Sole Source Contract For Her Part-Time Employer?
Not My Idea Of A Stimulating Evening
About Trump's Liberty University Speech
Do Not Place The Secessionist "Texas Independence" Measure On The 2016 Republican Primary Ballot
Conservatives Vs. Liberal On Those Engaged In Violent Political Activity
Tom Mechler Makes His Case Against Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Jared Woodfill Makes His Case For Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Questions About Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Reject The Call To Move 2016 Republican Party Of Texas Convention
It Is Too Bad That Political Parties Cannot Reject Voters Who Seek To Join, Stop Would-Be Candidates Who Want To Run


Watchers Council
  • Ask Marion
  • Bookworm Room
  • The Colossus of Rhodey
  • The Glittering Eye
  • GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD
  • The Independent Sentinel
  • JoshuaPundit
  • Liberty's Spirit
  • New Zeal
  • Nice Deb
  • The Noisy Room
  • The Razor
  • Rhymes With Right
  • The Right Planet
  • Simply Jews
  • Virginia Right!
  • Watcher Of Weasels

  • Political & Religious Blogs