In California, that land of the not-so-free and home of the submissive, four high school students were suspended for “liking” Instagram posts that the school administrators deemed racist. Now they have sued the school.
This has to stop.
The students, three of them Asian, were suspended after school officials were informed that they had “liked” or briefly commented on Instagram posts that included an image of a black doll juxtaposed with a KKK member, a torch and a noose, and photographs of other students at the school with jokes about their weight and appearance. Let us settle this right now: it doesn’t matter if the images and posts “liked’ advocated incest, cannibalism or Republicans. It is not the school’s role to punish students for thought crimes. This was not a school website, and the posts did not take place on school grounds. This is Big Brotherism, and the fact that the students involved need to be guided and taught does not mean crushing them under the iron boot of the state was appropriate or responsible.
Albany High School explained it was merely trying to provide “an inclusive and respectful learning environment for all of our students.” Translation: We want all our students to absorb our politically correct, mandated beliefs, and there is no escaping our power.
Students have a right to express their own views, however misguided, in their private lives. Students have a right to hold views San Francisco progressives find offensive. If the school can punish students for “liking” a racist image, it can, and I assume will, eventually punish students who like President Trump. Or Ethics Alarms. Or Ayn Rand. Or veal.
It gets worse. The lawsuit alleges that the school ordered an “atonement” exercise for the suspended students once they returned to school. Fifteen students including the four plaintiffs were “lined up in full view” of the student body and “screamed at.” For extra measure, some students assaulted them after the session.
If you don’t detect the distinct acidic odor of Leftist totalitarianism in all this, you are part of the problem.
Ethics Alarms (that’s me, in case that confuses you) started complaining about schools punishing students for Facebook posts years ago. This was and is an abuse of power. A school has a legitimate interest in meeting with parents about disturbing comments by students on social media, but the school’s role is advisory only. Once my kid is home and the school day is over, hands off. Any punishment to be issued for non-criminal acts is mine, as a parent. We can debate when the conduct edges into the school’s just jurisdiction, but a “like” or a comment on social media?
That’s so far from any line that it’s not even debatable. The First Amendment thingee that progressives find so unsavory allows citizens, even kids, to like whatever they choose without the government and its agents making them sorry they did.
As for the atonement exercise, all personal involved should be severely disciplined. That is child abuse, as well as strong evidence of incompetence and untrustworthiness, as well as terrible judgment.
I wish I could say with confidence that this was an anomaly. My experience suggests, however, that it is not. Over the past eight years, the education establishment has been encouraged and empowered to engage in unequivocal indoctrination tactics, while parents have been too forgiving and elected officials have cleared the way. How bad has school interference with student thought and expression gone in some communities? This far: At the Edgewood Middle School, in Ohio, administrators suspended student Zachary Bowlin because he merely “liked” a picture of an airsoft gun on Instagram. That the school withdrew the suspension after public outrage is no consolation. This is cultural insanity, and it is spreading.