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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Free Speech Anyone?

Lawmaker Presses for Free Speech in Foul-Mouth Student's Blog Case
At what age should students receive their inalienable rights? Should first graders have the right to Free Assembly, should 8th graders? What IS the age of reason? It is no surprise that a bill of this magnitude originates in Massachusetts, after all it has been the nursery or playpen for freedom since America began, but I hope the lawmakers are cautious and think farther than our founding fathers did. Imagine students saying anything they want about teachers, principals and school board members. Imagine the ramifications on people's careers. If I recall, my own teenage perceptions had very little to do with reality. My take on adults then makes me look back and chuckle now. I thought everyone who pushed me to do better was out to get me. If I could have said anything I wanted and disseminated it to the internet at that time, I could have damaged people's lives with my inane chattering. After al I was SURE that my gym teacher was flirting with the young girl students, but if I went online on a SCHOOL COMPUTER and said what I really thought at the time, I could have ruined him without having any real knowledge or proof. I think if we are going to allow students to blog or myspace anything they want, they should have to deal with the consequences as adults do. Either teachers should be able to say anything they want about the students, or we should be able to file harassment or slander lawsuits against said students. As teachers we are charged to keep confidential their records, personal information, grades, and their discipline issues. Who will protect the adults that work with students? It should be each district's decision to decide how to deal with these issues. We have been ordered to teach curriculum that deals with cyberbullying, are we going to allow it from our youngest citizens? The best/nicest/most decent teachers, principals, and administrators cannot have perfect averages when it comes to students; we will always piss someone off eventually. Are we going to allow students to ruin their own online reputations by putting themselves at risk of lawsuits? There are a lot of good questions that need to be asked and answered before legislation is enacted.

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