On the Rights of Students.

Though almost all of the minorities have achieved some semblance of equality with the old white male majority, there is one group that has been neglected over time: students.

As time has passed, though others have seen their rights validated by the courts and society, K-12 students have seen their rights slowly diminish. Though at one time–granted, it was long ago–students could go hunting during recess, an act as innocent as an elementary schooler bringing a plastic spork to school is now punishable by suspension or expulsion.

Though zero-tolerance laws are surely passed in the name of student safety and not overbearing administration, these policies are often absurd and the results of the policies are reflections of that. In a more alarming vein, these policies often miss the very weapons they were created to find. For instance, an honor roll, football-playing student was suspended because he had accidentally left his hunting rifle in the cab of his truck from the weekend before. However, Ag students and those who believe themselves to be “gangsters” carry switchblades in their pockets in plain sight of the administrators and are allowed to pass unfettered.

Lack of common sense is a common thread in school administration, and is not limited to outdated weapons policies. Countless cases of censorship of students have gone unchallenged where the censorship is both absurd and unnecessary. In my high school, fictional stories of dragons in a newspaper have been disallowed publication with no reason given as to why.

The issue, however, is not idiots running schools. Far larger idiots have run far larger institutions with limited success. The issue is that students’ rights are being infringed upon and that the Supreme Court has ruled most, if not all of these actions legal. Though these citizens are minorities, both in numbers and in age, they ought to be protected under the law as their parents undoubtedly are.

The reason that the idiots running the larger institutions are successful is that they allow some limited form of autonomy to their subordinates.  Students and teachers are fully bound to the rules and regulations of the administration, whether or not they agree with the policies. As a result, pointless directives are issued and followed because there is no intelligent resistance against which they must be justified.

What are the reasons provided in defense of curtailed student rights? Student safety? How many school shootings have taken place in the history of this country? Now compare that number to the number of shootings that have taken place outside of a school. The second number far outmatches the first. Censorship is allowed because student publications might embarrass the school district. This is simply illogical. What are school districts but administrators and teachers far outnubered by the number of students they are supposed to educate? If a student publication embarrasses anyone, it will be the students involved in the publication. As schools are not supposed to have religious or political preferences, they are incapable of holding opinions (that, and the fact that schools are nothing but buildings and heterogeneous individuals who could not agree on one single issue).

I understand that parents do not want their children to be harmed at school. I understand that schools do not want to be sued if a child gets hurt or killed on school premises. But if they do not want to be sued, they ought to focus on getting students in school, educating them and getting them off the premises rather than suspending students who bring sporks to school.

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