Get 'em while they're young.
This is how tyrannical governments indoctrinate fresh legions of loyal, law-abiding citizens.
In North Korea, for instance, children between the ages of seven and thirteen are regularly forced to pledge their allegiance to Kim Jung Un while calling him “father.”
Think about that for a moment...
Can you imagine if American school children were forced to pledge allegiance to President Obama and refer to him as “father?”
Folks would be rioting in the streets.
Of course, this is not something that would ever happen. Even if Obama or any other future president was so insane as to demand such a thing, it's such a blatant display of authoritarianism that even the most misinformed in this country wouldn't support it.
But there are certainly other ways to prep our youth for a future bereft of freedom and liberty...
A Disturbing Trend
Under the guise of “zero tolerance,” we're starting to see a disturbing trend of public school administrators infringe upon the Constitutional rights of school children.
Although the 1969 Tinker vs. DesMoines Supreme Court decision does state that school administrators do not have the authority to strip students of their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, it also notes that students must abide by certain rules while in the classroom so as not to disturb others from learning.
But what happens when they leave school grounds? Do administrators have the right to monitor random students outside of the classroom? And moreover, do administrators have the authority to take disciplinary action against students for any activities occurring off school property?
Some seem to think so.
A School-to-Prison Pipeline
“Heights U' is equivalent to WSU's football team.”
Believe it or not, those words recently got the senior class president of the Heights High School in Wichita suspended. His name is Wesley Teague, and the school also rescinded his post as senior class president and canceled his convocation speech.
Attorney Greger Calhan recently commented on this incident, writing:
... while school administrators may feel empowered to act as 24-hour speech police—tracking down and punishing speech they deem objectionable—the Bill of Rights takes a different view.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. And hiding behind zero tolerance policies, we're finding more and more school administrators overstepping their boundaries by monitoring students outside of school and imposing insanely harsh punishments that often include suspension and expulsion.
And this is having catastrophic results.
A recent ACLU memo noted: “Lacking resources, facing incentives to push out low-performing students, and responding to a handful of highly-publicized school shootings, schools have embraced zero-tolerance policies that automatically impose severe punishment regardless of circumstances. Under these policies, students have been expelled for bringing nail clippers or scissors to school.”
The memo also suggests that overly harsh disciplinary policies push students down the school-to-prison pipeline and into the juvenile justice system, going on to read:
Suspended and expelled children are often left unsupervised and without constructive activities; they also can easily fall behind in their coursework, leading to a greater likelihood f disengagement and drop-outs. All of these factors increase the likelihood of court involvement. As harsh penalties for minor misbehavior become more pervasive, schools increasingly ignore or bypass due process protections for suspensions and expulsions.
A perfect example of such a situation would be the eighth-grade student from West Virgina who was suspended for wearing a pro-Second Amendment t-shirt. The shirt contained an image of a rifle, and apparently that was enough to have Jared Marcum not only suspended, but arrested for obstruction and disturbing the educations process.
Makes you wonder if he would've been “obstructing and disturbing the education process” if he had an anti-Second Amendment t-shirt.
The school district has a dress code policy that forbids clothing displaying discriminatory images, violence or profanity. The shirt in question does no such thing.
A Tragic Irony
Truth is, when you step back and look at what's going on in some of these schools, the actions of administrators are eerily similar to those of the North Koreans who indoctrinate their children at special ceremonies. At the last indoctrination ceremony, “Dear Leader” told students that they were the future masters of a most powerful country where every home will be full of laughter and everybody lives in harmony.
In this country, we tell our kids they are the future of democracy, where they will enjoy the gift of liberty and be charged with the responsibility of protecting this great democracy by giving up a few basic rights in order to protect our collective safety — certainly the most tragic of ironies.
Look, I'm not so brash to suggest that one can directly correlate the actions of the North Koreans with the actions of a badly damaged public school system... but I am suggesting that by allowing these random instances of Constitutional violations to occur, we don't prepare our children to protect and defend the Constitution.
Instead, we passively discourage such responsibilities. And that is simply unacceptable.
Live honorably, live free...
Jeff Siegel for Freedom Watch
P.S. Here's an interesting sidenote about the Pledge of Allegiance we all recited as kids: Francis Bellamy, the author of the pledge, was a self-described socialist who wanted to replace the Founders' Constitutional republic with a centralized welfare state. Bellamy's initial intention was to have children pledge their allegiance to the central government before their allegiance to anything else.