I posted yesterday on the evils of teachers who overstep their areas of expertise. But what about school districts, who, in their continuing search to make schools 'friendly environments' for everyone, have begun intruding into what students do off-campus and in their own time.
A report by the AP says that 20 student in Costa Mesa, California were suspended merely for viewing another student's MySpace in which he made threats against a fellow student. As for the student wwho created the posting, the local police are apparently trying to charge the kid with a hate crime, and the district wants to expel him.
This is all very amusing to me. Teachers can apparently accuse our nation and our elected President of war crimes and even conduct mock trials of the same President during school hours without the charge of 'hate crime' being hurled, but let a middle-schooler make disparaging or threatening comments against a fellow student, and it's a 'hate crime'?
According to the report, the student in question made comments like "Who here in the (group name) wants to take a shotgun and blast her in the head over a thousand times?" I remember in middle school that there were many of my fellow student whom I loathed (and who probably loathed me), and probably would cheerfully have beat the living daylights out of. Several of the girls were the worst offenders. Althought we couldn't hit girls, we certainly made many disparaging comments, and sometimes daydreamed about beating them up as well. I also recall that after-school fights among the guys were always arranged to take place in the park near our school so that the school could not stop them.
In this case, I am not defending the student in question. He made ssome stupid and completely irresponsible comments. However, I think that the district is over-reacting, and the police should butt out. This is a case of a kid, on his own time, focusing his aggression and relieving his stress. His parents should absolutely be ashamed for not taking action, but the school district and the police have no business being involved.
As for the remainder of the students, their only crime is viewing the offending comments. Whatever happend to the principle of free speech? This speech is definitely offiensive, but these students merely viewed it. On their own time and off campus. What gives the schools the authority to punish students for actions performed off-campus? I don't ever recall awards being given for acheivements that were executed off-campus. Those took place 'out of the school's jurisdiction'. So what give the district the right to punish students once they leave school?
School districts exist to teach students the basics- a job at which entirely too many off them are failing miserably. They have no business getting into their students' lives once they leave campus. If these activities occur on campus, then they have every right to become involved. But not off-campus. That is the job of a parent- not a school administrator. School adminstrators apparently have a lot of free time. Instead of pursuing these PC nany-state objectives, maybe they should use some of it to find out why so many of their students are 'graduating' with such abysmal skillsets as in the Florida aritcle linked. Maybe that would even justify their lofty salaries....
Hat tip to Matt Drudge.