Democrats & Liberals Archives

Central Columbia School Board's Motto: Ignorance is Strength

A new policy, from the Central Columbia School district or Oceania’s Ministry of Information (for those familiar with Orwell) in Pennsylvania, near Bloomsburg, allows government officials to discipline students if they violate their ‘unprotected expression’ policy, on or off school property.

Let me say that, for those of you not familiar with Orwell or Stalin, the Central Columbia's School Board can discipline a student if a student writes a song, from within the safety of their own home, that contains language disagreeable by the school board.

On August 17th, 2005, the CCSB voted 5-3 for new procedures relating to student expression. Here is a snippet:
"Off-campus or after-hours [student] expression is governed... if the student expression involved constitutes unprotected expression as stated in this policy and provided the off-campus or after hours expression does or is likely to materially and substantially interfere with school activities, school work, or discipline and order on school property or at school functions."

"How can this happen?" you might ask. How can students be discriminated against and oppressed in the name of education (or in this case, re-education)? Well, in the 1988 U.S. Supreme Court decision: Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, the SC decided that public school officials can censor school-sponsored student expression. This ruling was qualified by requiring the school to prove that they had a valid educational reason for doing so.

In the Hazelwood case, the school officials removed articles to be published in the school paper about the impact of divorce on teenagers and teen pregnancy. The students objected and fought their way through the courts citing Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) as the basis for free expression. In Tinker, students won the right to wear black arm bands to protest the Viet Nam War. The Supreme Court said that Des Moines could not censor student expression unless they can reasonably forecast a substantial disruption or a material interference with school activities. The students contended that the articles created no disruption within the meaning of Tinker.

In Hazelwood, the Supreme Court created a new standard for school-sponsored speech. In Hazelwood, they claimed that student expression applied beyond school newspapers and into yearbooks, school plays and "other expressive activities that students, parents, and members of the public might reasonably perceive to bear to imprimatur of the school." The Supreme Court further explained that "educators do not offend the First Amendment by exercising editorial control over the style and content of student speech in school-sponsored expressive activities so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns."

The Hazelwood decision established the standard for student expression. A public school may interfere with student expression if the expression affects learning. How does this apply to Central Columbia?

First, Central Columbia cites the Pennsylvania School Boards Association's draft policy as the basis for their action. PSBA has yet to approve this policy and this policy has yet to be tried through the courts. Yet, the folks in Central Columbia feel the imminent need to impose such totalitarian policies.

Second, the board recommended a policy change without following proper protocol and public discussion. The public was unaware of this policy until after the board quickly motioned and passed it. Since then, a week after the policy was adopted, a federal judge in Pittsburg ordered a Beaver County (PA) school district to reverse its suspension of a student who wrote violent and profane rap lyrics at home and posted those lyrics online. The federal judge felt the policy violated the student's first amendment right of free speech.

Across the country, school boards are fast exercising their power by imposing their morality and their will against the last oppressed class; the public-school student. Elected officials are supporting controversial measures like lock-down checks and the use of breathalyzers for students as a required for entrance into school proms and sporting events. The ACLU has been slow to step in to these cases but have offered some harsh words for some school boards regarding these matters. "High school students are entitled to protection from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution but also under Article 14 of the state constitution," a letter read from a staff attorney for the ACLU to the principal and school officials of a Delaware school district.

What is to be done?

Various states have enacted legislation deemed "anti-Hazelwood" laws. The laws are aimed directly toward extending free speech to students; essentially allowing the same freedom of expression to public school students as tax paying adults. Pennsylvania should join the ranks of the other states that appreciate the first amendment for what it is: a core tenet for the liberties of these United States.

Posted by john trevisani at September 29, 2005 7:22 AM
Comments
Comment #82647

John,

Great post.

Have you noticed the trend since morality and god have worked it’s way into gov’t(2004 presidential election) we’ve seen alot of killing(Iraq)alot of corruption(No-bid contracts for KBR)alot of bigotry(New Orleans)
Maybe it’s not god,spirituality or morality that has infiltrated our gov’t. Maybe it’s just being masqueraded as such.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at September 29, 2005 8:49 AM
Comment #82654

John,

Can you provide a link on the “various states” that have enacted “anti-Hazelwood” laws…

Thanks…

Posted by: Discerner at September 29, 2005 9:26 AM
Comment #82655

also…

the “Central Columbia School district” does not work…

Posted by: Discerner at September 29, 2005 9:27 AM
Comment #82658

At what point do we choose to exercize control over minors for their behaviour?

Do local societal norms have ANY bearing on the situation?

Do the Columbine killings carry any weight or set guidelines in these decisions?

“a student who wrote violent and profane rap lyrics at home and posted those lyrics online”

It’s one thing for an adult to do this, but a child? This is the behaviour we want to nurture in our country?

Unfortunately, Morals, Values, Integrity and Responsibility are sorely lacking in our society.

Posted by: Cliff at September 29, 2005 9:48 AM
Comment #82660

This is not the result of morality working its way into the system after the 2004 elections. A lot of the HS codes result from the perceived trends in violence in the 1990s. The most offensive codes tend to be the politically correct ones.

I am sure you all will join me in opposing ALL speech codes in public institutions. Besides actual incitement to violence or the clear and present danger rule, people should be free to say whatever they want. Of course, others are under no obligation to listen to them or respect their opinions. And if you say a lot of stupid things people have a right not to associate with you. But you can say what you want.

Posted by: Jack at September 29, 2005 10:01 AM
Comment #82662

Surely there must be better ways to teach our children morals, integrity, responsibility, compassion than through censorship. Perhaps, oh I don’t know, by example might be worth a try.

Posted by: chantico at September 29, 2005 10:10 AM
Comment #82663

Jack,

Are you sure that’s what you want your kids to experience in school?

Besides actual incitement to violence or the clear and present danger rule, people should be free to say whatever they want.

At what point might this change?
9th grade?
6th grade?
3rd grade?
1st grade?

At what point do you exercize control? or maybe you think we should not?

Posted by: Cliff at September 29, 2005 10:12 AM
Comment #82667

You are right - Cliff. I was thinking of older kids and more politically oriented speech.

Posted by: jack at September 29, 2005 10:20 AM
Comment #82670

Discerner:


Can you provide a link on the “various states” that have enacted “anti-Hazelwood” laws…
the “Central Columbia School district” does not work…

Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas and Massachusetts. and California (CA adopted greater protection for student expression before the Hazelwood ruling.)

http://www.centralcolumbia.k12.pa.us/


Cliff:


At what point do you exercize control? or maybe you think we should not?

This policy by CCSD punishes students for what they do and say outside of school; it’s stops free. period.

i wonder if the members of the CCSD would be open to their own medicine. Would they accept being punished for comments outside of the board meetings? i think not.

Posted by: john trevisani at September 29, 2005 10:42 AM
Comment #82695
i wonder if the members of the CCSD would be open to their own medicine. Would they accept being punished for comments outside of the board meetings? i think not.

Actually John, we are all accountable for what we say and do. We recently had a school board member resign because of a caustic remark made outside the school premise.

There is an issue of being responsible with our freedoms, are our children capable of exercizing this responsibility? Some are, some are not. We should be teaching and instructing our children about the freedoms we have and how they are cared for. It is not about how to abuse it, because of ones “rights”. When our freedoms take on a selfish nature, we will end up losing all we have gallantly fought for.

Posted by: Cliff at September 29, 2005 12:19 PM
Comment #82697

Cliff,

Why do you think it is OK for a school board to punish children for what they do out of school? Wouldn’t you be the same kind of person to argue against a school district teaching homosexuality as a valid life style? There are boundaries for gov’t, and for the school board, they should end at the school grounds.

Rights are rights. What you do with them is up to you until they infringe on the rights of others. Use them poorly, you look like a fool. Not all of us, just you.

Posted by: Dave at September 29, 2005 12:37 PM
Comment #82701

Dave,

I don’t think it’s that easy. There are boundaries, but there is also a code of conduct that fits into what we belong to, on or off lifes playgrounds.

You can make yourself into a fool by abusing your rights, but now, because of that abuse, someone will create a new law because of your stupidity and lack of common sense.

Posted by: Cliff at September 29, 2005 12:59 PM
Comment #82702

Cliff:


There are boundaries, but there is also a code of conduct that fits into what we belong to, on or off lifes playgrounds.

Let us not forget:


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

It doesn’t say in the advent of some new social norm we shall limit what a person may say. It doesn’t say you can say what you want so as long as i agree with it.

We used to have soap boxes, now we have Internet blogs. We used to have poetry readings, now we have downloadable MP3s. Free speech is free speech.

Posted by: john trevisani at September 29, 2005 1:08 PM
Comment #82707
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

jt:
“It doesn’t say in the advent of some new social norm we shall limit what a person may say. It doesn’t say you can say what you want so as long as i agree with it.”

No, it doesn’t. But nowadays there are a growing number of people who seem to agree with the president, who while campaigning for president said:
“There ought to be limits to freedom.”

Posted by: Adrienne at September 29, 2005 1:26 PM
Comment #82714

john,

I guess your right, common sense has nothing to do with it…

Posted by: Cliff at September 29, 2005 2:23 PM
Comment #82716

cliff: “You can make yourself into a fool by abusing your rights, but now, because of that abuse, someone will create a new law because of your stupidity and lack of common sense.”

So we agree then, it is a stupid “law” to apply punitive measures to speech the board doesn’t like.

Posted by: Dave at September 29, 2005 3:04 PM
Comment #82717

dave,

When you take common sense out of the equation, you are absolutely correct.

Posted by: Cliff at September 29, 2005 3:19 PM
Comment #82721

Cliff-
The underlying basis of our country is that wisdom is not limited to or guaranteed to be found within our leaders. You talk about abuse of rights, but we have laws on the books to cover abuses of rights, and unwritten social laws that can punish those whose speech is unpopular or abhorrent (not many fans of NAMBLA out there, for example).

Fact of the matter is, only under the most extraordinary circumstances can the government be allowed to exercise censorship. Now, the schools have every right to moderate speech within their walls. Parents give the schools that authority.

Outside of the schools, I would think both liberals and conservatives agree that it is the parent’s right and duty to wield control over their children’s lives. God forbid somebody should say that a parent may be wiser than a school board in deciding what the best interests of a child. We take a big step in obliging parents to school their children, a necessary step for an educated society. We should not require parents to yield their control outside of school to the government.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 29, 2005 3:30 PM
Comment #82730

While it is certainly the desired method, I think it might be overly optimistic to rely on the ideal that all parents actually assume the parental role in it’s truest sense outside of school.

In an increasing number of occurances, I would suspect largely in the less affluent areas in the inner cities, the school is also the parent.

It is certainly appropriate to assume that a parent is by far the most qualified (and duty bound) person to exact control of his/her child and, that to relinquish that control to another person or body would/might be counter to law and social sensibility.

In the absence of a parent however, there needs to be a “system” of control which may require input of government if for no other reason than to establish guidelines.

Posted by: steve smith at September 29, 2005 4:35 PM
Comment #82734

Steve: “I would suspect largely in the less affluent areas in the inner cities, the school is also the parent” is economic bigotry.

The murderers in Columbine, and in every other school assault I know, were from Red State middle class to affluent districts. So, I would guess from your post, you think we need martial law in the mid-west.

Posted by: Dave at September 29, 2005 4:48 PM
Comment #82738

Dave,

I certainly intended no bigotry. I fully realize that the “sensational” school attacks are in suburban areas like the Columbine incident.

What I can tell you however with no fear of error or repercussion is that every single day kids are being beaten, stabbed, shot, raped, etc. in virtually every inner city school district in places like NYC, Philly, Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, etc..

These incidents appear on the inner pages of a newspaper and do not get nationwide media coverage for days at a time like they do in Colorado, Utah, etc.

My post is not intended to indicate a need or my belief in a need for martial law anywhere. It is intended to suggest that every child does not have a parent to wield control over them as is suggested as a solution by other posters.

If you believe or perceive otherwise, you have completely misread my post.

Posted by: steve smith at September 29, 2005 5:04 PM
Comment #82740

dave,

You totally missed Steve’s post…

Answer this:

What happens when for all practical purposes, there are NO parents? There maybe someone who is called a parent, but the child is parentless.

Forget the economic, social and your colored states bias influences for a minute.

Can you let kids just “go to hell” because you have “rights”?

Posted by: cliff at September 29, 2005 5:08 PM
Comment #82767

Steve, I find this scarily Orwellian of you to say:
“there needs to be a “system” of control” which may require input of government if for no other reason than to establish guidelines.

Under whose control? Under whose guidelines?
How does a “system of control” with some sort of “government established guidelines” jibe with our First Amendment Rights, or our American ideas of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness?
I just can’t see it. To me that sounds exactly like “there ought to be limits on freedom” — which is not only a complete oxymoron, but totally Un-American.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 29, 2005 7:37 PM
Comment #82770

Cliff:
“What happens when for all practical purposes, there are NO parents? There maybe someone who is called a parent, but the child is parentless.”

This is when caring adults must take action to help that child by calling social services — then actually follow through by making sure that child gets placed in a better situation where they have proper supervision, and are allowed to thrive as human beings.

“Can you let kids just “go to hell” because you have “rights”?”

No. Because despite their parental lottery, America’s children have rights, too.
And freedom of creative expression outside of the schoolroom should definitely be considered one of them.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 29, 2005 7:53 PM
Comment #82794

steve,

That list is like an old soviet citizen watching outdated news reels for propaganda purposes. I live near Boston, one of your examples. There are very rare instances of violence in the schools, they are always on the front pages. We are viewed as a national model of how to deal with teen violence.

Further, if you were to investgate crime statistics, you will find as much or more sexual assaults, youth pregnancy, and drugs, in rural “red” states than urban “blue.”

Speaking to your kids about the problems and giving them tools to deal with them are real solutions, unlike abstinence-only education and “listen or else.”

Posted by: Dave at September 29, 2005 9:50 PM
Comment #82806

“There ought to be limits to freedom.” In itself that statement should strike fear into all our hearts. The limits to our freedoms have been established by our Foundling Fathers. I strongly object to any school or institution usurping the rights of our children (or their parents)to express thier freedom of thought and expression so long as it does not impose on others. In the event is does offend, we have laws and courts to address the issues.

We don’t need yet another group (like the religious right)telling us what’s good and bad and how we should live our lives. Schools should stay focussed on the mission we pay them for which is to teach and leave the parenting to parents. Perhaps focussing their efforts on the mission established for them they would be more successful than presently as compared to international standards?

Posted by: Gary Hankin at September 29, 2005 11:01 PM
Comment #82842

Social services is inaquately prepared to deal with the case load involving children “needing parents” or “loving homes” to serve as such. There are 10 pounds of children in need but only a 5 pound sack to put them in.

This issue cannot and should not be debated by “red” and “blue” states.

My suggestion regarding government guidelines is for the purpose of ensuring that children do not wind up in the hands of unqualified people, that it does not become a “big brother” program for profit, that it does not become a haven or sanctuary for kids who have committed crimes and the courts are using the “program” as an alternative to incarceration, etc.

My suggestion is no different than yours except with guidelines/parameters of adherence. I am not suggesting usurping anyone’s rights.

Posted by: steve smith at September 30, 2005 9:02 AM
Comment #82845

Lets make sure that the schools ban all religious materials as well. Nothing causes disruption like those Christian folk.

Posted by: AParker at September 30, 2005 10:03 AM
Comment #82861

Religion in schools,

I generally agree that religion should not be taught in public schools. I would have to see examples of what constitutes “religious materials” before agreeing to a total ban.

Many years ago there was a program used in the public school system of NYC that involved early release from school on Wednesdays for children to go to church operated religious instruction classes. “Early” was about an hour and a half as I remember. This system permitted children to have the opportunity of learning religion outside of school and, as a supplement to church itself. BTW, those not wanting to go or, who’s church did not participate, were not forced to leave school early.

Posted by: steve smith at September 30, 2005 11:24 AM
Comment #82877

Steve : “This issue cannot and should not be debated by “red” and “blue” states.”
{—what happened to “I would suspect largely in the less affluent areas in the inner cities, the school is also the parent”}

Anyway, I agree, partially. Every environment has it’s own unique challenges and, consequently, solutions to those problems will be unique. But I’m still against allowing the school board into cencorship outside of school grounds. They are not qualified as social services. In Kansas they’re not even qualified to establish curriculum.

As for NYC’s early relese program, I’m not that familiar with it but I would bet that it was petetioned by parents to the school that the school accomodate groups of children leaving campus for extra-curricular activities. I would further bet it was not a decision made by the school to encourage that activity, in that the activity was absolutely nothing to do with the school. Instead, the decision was probably argued over the seperation aspect. I.e. was accomodating a religious activity in violation of that seperation or not?

Posted by: Dave at September 30, 2005 12:55 PM
Comment #82897

Most (if not all) school districts in Utah do something similar to accomidate students who attend seminary. I is not mandatory, and allows a student to choose 1 period in the day to be able to leave campus.

Posted by: SirisC at September 30, 2005 3:06 PM
Comment #82901

“Steve : “This issue cannot and should not be debated by “red” and “blue” states.”
{—what happened to “I would suspect largely in the less affluent areas in the inner cities, the school is also the parent”}”

I fail to see any political reference in my statement. Are there no less affluent areas in the inner cities of both “red” and “blue” states.
Affluency is not limted by political party affiliation. Your comment is invalid.

I have no idea what precipitated the program in NYC. I can however tell you that I participated in it from the late 1940’s to the late 1950’s and it was still going strong. During that time and beyond, it was never a controversial issue. In fact it was supported by parents.

Since it was a voluntary activity, sadly for you Liberals, nobody’s rights were violated.

Posted by: steve smith at September 30, 2005 3:49 PM
Comment #82915

Ummmm: “NYC, Philly, Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, etc..” My point was most “conservatives” like to point to cites as bastions of “liberalism” and thereby, through inuendo, imply the “liberals” have all the problems and none of the answers. My appologies if that was not your intent (concious or otherwise). Although I still stand by the, unfortunately, divisive statements that dealing with an issue as the “right” is doing these days is inneffectual.

As for the thread; “sadly” for conservatives, these “field trips” would apply for the atheist antiwar crowd as well. Why in this world would you even imagine that as a liberal I would be against a school allowing children, at parental request, to leave the school grounds for extracurricular activities? Just because I think evangelical religion is stupid, addictive, and fascist doesn’t mean I think the believers should be prevented from having their fix.
We lefties pretty much agree with Voltaire when he said: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Posted by: Dave at September 30, 2005 4:37 PM
Comment #82926

Dave,

My selection of big cities was consciously intended to infer large cities. There was no attempt to infer a specific political geographic. I simply was thinking of big cities.

I obviously have a different, more tolerant if you will, view on religion than you do. While I respect your right to differ I would likely not use terms like stupid, addictive and fascist to explain my position in opposition to yours.

Posted by: steve smith at September 30, 2005 5:02 PM
Comment #82964

Steve,

I don’t know the full details of your religious inclination. But I can’t help feel that way towards proselytization. There is a total sense of self-righteousness in saying that “if you don’t believe in Jesus (Mohamed) as your savior (final prophet) the way I do then you will go to hell (die as an infidel).”

Those people have a right to believe and live the way they want but they have no right in this country to legislate that morality. Whether it is a school board or Pat Robertson or anyone else it is forcing other people to act to that faith, not to our social commonality (the constitution for example).

Religion might be foolish and not stupid. It might be pablum not addictive. It might bedictitorial and not fascism. But in any case, religious extremism has become the #1 threat to the real America (and I mean both christian and islamic) and needs to be called what it is.

Now you have faith and have never proselytized to me. I do respect your right to believe the way you do. Maybe the words I used were unpleasent. But, it is the way I feel, it was not intended to be assaultive, in retrospect I appologize for that.

Posted by: Dave at September 30, 2005 10:00 PM
Comment #82989

Dave,

Your points are well taken. I believe that some people (followers) take their religious beliefs verbatim from people like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, etc. Folowers of Islam, Buddhism and others likely do the same.

At the end of the day however, I think the average religious practitioner speaks, worships and, when necessary, debates his/her own interpretation of that in which they believe.

I often think that we tend to characterize ALL for the actions of a potentially LARGER group.

Posted by: steve smith at October 1, 2005 9:21 AM
Comment #83141

Steve said:

“While it is certainly the desired method, I think it might be overly optimistic to rely on the ideal that all parents actually assume the parental role in it’s truest sense outside of school.

In an increasing number of occurances, I would suspect largely in the less affluent areas in the inner cities, the school is also the parent.”

And Cliff agreed:
“What happens when for all practical purposes, there are NO parents? There maybe someone who is called a parent, but the child is parentless.”

The problem with this position is that it is not, in fact, a situation where there are “no parents”. It is a situation where there are parents who do not adhere to the same standards for their children that you would set for yours.

Exactly what would give you the right to dictate to them what their reaction to particular speech by their children should be in order for the government to consider them parents “for practical purposes”, or “in the truest sense”?

Further, if one gives the government the power to define acceptable speech by children on the basis that “real parents” would not allow children to say such things, what prevents it from being misused to take parental rights away from those parents who support particular ideologies? What prevents schools from censoring anti-homosexual speech written by students outside the classroom, for example? What prevents schools from censoring pagan speech written by students outside the classroom, when they are already trying to ban pagan symbols as “gang signs” in many localities? What prevents schools from censoring any given ideology they don’t agree with?

The minute we grant government the right to decide something like this, we may as well hand our children over to be raised by government officials, because we are giving the government complete authority to say what ideologies are and are not permissible for parents to allow their children to follow.

Posted by: Jarandhel at October 2, 2005 4:50 PM
Comment #83149

Jarandhel ,

What prevents schools from censoring pagan speech written by students outside the classroom, when they are already trying to ban pagan symbols as “gang signs” in many localities?

As there are gangs identifying themselves using pagan symbols, such become fair game. Pagans are not the only ones effected. Consider the Nazi takeover of the ‘Swastika’ symbol. While cencorship may not have been official, my own daughter felt effects of broadbrush labelling and prejudice when the police chief pointed her out during a high school assembly as an example of ‘gang dress and symbols’.

She chose to spend her money on utilities rather than fancy clothes and wore her work clothes to school. Clean and patched flannel shirts, jeans and bandanas. Such dreadful gang stylings for field work. Horrors. Much less offensive were the normative short skirts and halters of the late 1980’s. She did not whine or complain.

She came home and asked me to cornrow her hair. (Then *i* complained.) Anyone try cornrowing long fine straight hair? Had to redo it every day for a week and even then she looked bald because she was blonde. Better believe i whined, to myself; but supported her fully. The school was also just then having to deal with a multicultural/racial student body and well, one has to do what they can. ;)

Dave,

But I’m still against allowing the school board into cencorship outside of school grounds. They are not qualified as social services. In Kansas they’re not even qualified to establish curriculum.

Some might consider Greenwhich Village community ‘unqualified’ to govern the school setting or establish curriculum.

Who decides the qualifications? The religious right? You? IMO, Local communities have the right to elect and govern their local schools as they see fit. If someone doesn’t like it or can’t cope not being in control of everything, run for office or find a community that better fits you.

Posted by: jo at October 2, 2005 6:13 PM
Comment #83157

Jo:

As there are gangs identifying themselves using pagan symbols, such become fair game. Pagans are not the only ones effected. Consider the Nazi takeover of the ‘Swastika’ symbol.

And if a gang starts identifying themselves using a cross or crucifix, does that become fair game for censorship as well? Where do we draw the line? What freedoms are we not willing to give up in order to obtain a little temporary safety till the gangs can find another uncensored symbol to use? Hell, do we really think a gang even needs a symbol such as dress to identify themselves? I never had any trouble knowing who my friends were and who my friends weren’t when I was in school, why should those kids in gangs need a symbol or special clothing to recognize their group?

Posted by: Jarin at October 2, 2005 7:55 PM
Comment #83164

Jarin,

i propose we draw the line at the local community level.

There are many styles of crosses and many different symbols for other groups, religious or gang related. It’s the age old problem for women (at least tv would have us think so) of two women showing up wearing the same dress. One is generally left out or put down. There are other nights, other dresses as well as other colors and symbols. If the locals feel the problem is bad enougoh it requires censorship, that’s their call, not mine.

Now, should some local community have the gall to tell MY community or YOUR community what should or should not be allowed in our schools, THEN i’d have a big problem.

i understand in some urban areas they have laws against painting on buildings, here it is part of life and even celebrated. Should i take it to court that some other place is censoring their children’s creativity?

Posted by: jo at October 2, 2005 10:09 PM
Comment #83197

Jo,

Good point about Kansas. Fortunately, I don’t live there since I’d hate to have to move. Unfortunately, when they broke one of the main tenets of our country (i.e. no establishment of religion) they lost credibility as ‘teachers’ and instead became ‘preachers’. Meaning, in my eyes at least, they lost their legitimate authority.

As far as graffitti. Painting your own wall is not illegal. It’s defacing someone else’s that’s the issue. It has nothing to do with creativity. If your community has given up on clean walls & property rights or decided to co-opt graffitti to legitimze (ie. make it boring), that’s your choice.

Jarin,

Not everyone is a large school is going to know what gang some banger belongs to. At least not from a distance or for new members. Also, the clothes are like a flag in the battle field. You know your ‘friend’ is in trouble from a distance by their clothes, not their face. The colors are territorial and aggressive. That’s why they’re banned.

Posted by: Dave at October 3, 2005 8:18 AM
Comment #83221

Rest assured that gangs in the inner cities (and now spread to suburban areas) have certain dress requirements for identity, tatoos, language, handshakes, jewelry, etc.

This is how they know who their friends and enemies are (unlike Jarin who was able to tell his friends by facial recognition).

A more infamous instant recognition tied to dress is the “red” bandana and the “blue” bandana which identifies two notorious gang enemies. So terrifying and/or offensive is this headwear it is banished from use by athletes at the college and professional levels.

Graffitti had it’s early beginnings on the sides of public transportation (subway cars) and train stations in NYC. So widespread and uncontrollable was this practice, as well as costly to restore, NYC gave up and now permits all of it’s subway cars and train stations to be “graffittied”.

Gang activity has not been controllable on the streets by police or school systems. It is controlled by the gangs themselves. In fact, the gangs often control what the school is able to do.

Posted by: steve smith at October 3, 2005 11:17 AM
Comment #83230

Steve,

I think you give gangs a little to much credit. They certainly impact what a school can accomplish. But I don’t think they can define it’s mission or control it (unlike what the 70’s movies described).

Posted by: Dave at October 3, 2005 12:07 PM
Comment #83233

Dave, I am not speaking of movies. In 1970 I was 28 years old so I know of what I speak.

“I think you give gangs a little to much credit. They certainly impact what a school can accomplish. But I don’t think they can define it’s mission or control it (unlike what the 70’s movies described).”

What is the diffence between being able to impact what a school can accomplish and defining and controlling it’s mission. That just makes no sense.

If someone can impact what I can accomplish, define my objectives and controlling my mission becomes moot.

Posted by: steve smith at October 3, 2005 12:29 PM
Comment #83235

Good Ole Dubya must be grinning ear to ear. This is exactly the kind of Holier than Thou attitude that he has been preaching to the masses.

And you thought the Constitution guaranteed separation of Church and State! How naive of you!

Where is the outrage? We left Britain to get away from the State Church and now here our leader goes professing the use of the Church in areas that I thought were off limits to the Church.

This is exactly why this has happened with the CCSB.
Dubya has givent the religious right the pathway to unduly influence a state sponsored religion.

Posted by: richard at October 3, 2005 12:58 PM
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