Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Speaking (or Ripping) of Free Speech Rights

Normally there are limits on the freedom of speech of high school students. But I wonder about this story, highlighted by Joanne Jacobs. Apparently a student wanted to demonstrate non-conformity by ripping pages and sections out from a Bible. The boy has been suspended pending a psychological evaluation. The boy was making a point, perhaps badly, about non-conformity.
The Janesville School District confirms the incident occurs, but can't release any disciplinary actions due to privacy concerns.

The Janesville Gazette reports the student was suspended and required to undergo a psychological evaluation before he could return to school.

Parker Principal Dale Carlson says the student was not disciplined just for ripping up the Bible. "There were other behaviors that came to our attention from the classroom."
Okay, lets assume there were other behaviors involved that lead to the suspension. I would hope there would be, because I would like to think that a speech about non-conformity involving non-conforming behaviors would be appropriate and covered by some semblence of free speech.

Anyhow, the reaction to some extent is predictable. But if this were a Koran, a death warrent by some Islamic kook would have already been issued for the boy. At least in America, you can rip up a Bible and only get sentenced to see a shrink.


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