Freedom of Speech?

It’s been all over the local news. Schools banning certain apparel, like the I ♥ boobies bracelets or t-shirts with the word “queer” on them, only to have the kids take them to court for infringing on their rights. They argue, and often win, that it’s an infringement on their freedom of speech. By wearing a shirt with the word “queer”, whether done tongue in cheek or as a political statement, they are exercising their right to freedom of speech. To limit this is to limit their freedom.

The ACLU defended the student wanting to wear the shirt with “queer” on it supporting his right to freedom of speech. I wonder what would take precedence if another student chose the shirt with the “n” word. Whose rights trump the other. At what point does my freedom of speech cross the line to be racist, or violence provoking? It’s an issue the courts have been dealing with for years.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that high school students are not wearing I ♥ boobies bracelets to support breast cancer research. They are doing it because they can get by with wearing a bracelet with sexual innuendo to school and not get in trouble. Oh, sure, they think breast cancer is a terrible thing. But if you think this is just a show of support, why don’t you ask them to not text for one week to show their support. I’m guessing you wouldn’t have many takers. Everyone knows the reason they are so popular, which is what makes it all the more disgraceful.

But what I see as the real travesty is the undermining of the authority of school officials. We may complain about the Gen Ys having an entitlement complex, but I think society must take the blame. It is actions like this that teach young people that they don’t have to respect the authority of those in charge. Mommy and Daddy will go to bat for them against the mean old school district that is stifling their precious freedom. And the take awy is, “Ha! See, I told you I should be able to wear this shirt.” Maybe even a little, “Take that Mr. Principal” or “Na na na na boo boo!”

I’m curious how these lawsuits came about. Did Suzie or Johnny go home from school and tell Mom or Dad that they had to take their I♥ boobies bracelet off and now feel their civil rights were violated? If I had told my parents that {and this is where I sound old!} I would have been told to respect the school officials and wear the bracelet outside of school. That it’s the administrators job to set standards and enforce them. My parents respected school officials and expected me to do the same. They taught me to be respectful of those in authority. That there are rules and parameters that we must live within…even if we don’t like or agree with them.

I’m all about advocating for oneself. Fighting for change when rules or laws are crossing the line. But aren’t there much bigger things we should be helping our teens fight for? Seems like if they are so eager to fight for rights and defend freedoms there are people at home and abroad who could use that passion.



Filed under Parenting, School, The State of Affairs

2 responses to “Freedom of Speech?

  1. Linda Bailey

    It is my impression (and opinion) that school is not a democracy. A child hasn’t yet earned the right to freedom of speech; and that’s a good thing.

  2. Nice post Judy…..What I don’t understand is why politics and social issues are now a part of our kids’ normal everyday school routine! Our kids need help~ From an emotional, social, and educational point of view. Just yesterday I heard a sobering statistic~ something to the tune of 12% of 8th Graders in a school could read…..And we, as a society, have the audacity to wonder what is wrong with our education system. Our schools are no longer educational venues, they are now socialized and politicized to the max! I’m so thankful my youngest is in 10th Grade~Kudos to those that Home School!

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