This article is frightening on multiple levels. First, here’s what happened that started this disaster:
Canyon High School, based in Anaheim Hills, issued an apology to 16-year-old Haley Bullwinkle, a student there, after first telling her that a T-shirt she wore to school violated its dress code policy on clothes depicting and promoting violence. The garment in question: a T-shirt with a photo of the American flag and a hunter, along with the words, “National Rifle Association of America, Protecting America’s Traditions Since 1871.”
It never occurred to the sophomore that the shirt she grabbed when she was running late for school a couple of weeks ago would land her in trouble with officials. But Bullwinkle was confronted by a security guard outside of class and told she had to change her shirt or face a suspension. She cooperated and wore a top the school provided for the duration of the day, but the incident frightened the teenager, and outraged her parents.
Simply put, Canyon High School tried to prevent Ms. Bullwinkle from exercising her First Amendment rights. At least the school apologized. Plenty of schools wouldn’t have done even that much.
This is the frightening part:
Calls from Yahoo Shine to principal Kimberly Fricker and superintendent Michael Christensen weren’t returned, but Fricker did apologize to the Bullwinkle family. Superintendent Christensen also released a statement saying, “Campus staff will be trained so that an incident like this does not occur again.”
Here’s a radical thought. Instead of putting the staff through training, perhaps schools should just teach the Constitution as part of each year’s history class. After teaching the Constitution, it’d be appropriate to then teach students, and apparently faculty, staff and administration, about the Bill of Rights. (Students could even earn extra credit for reading the Federalist Papers.)
The class could be taught by KrisAnne Hall through a Skype connection. I’d bet she’d be willing to teach students, faculty, staff and administration about the history of the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the various state conventions and the documents that the Founding Fathers used to write the Constitution.
With that type of class being taught for an entire quarter, the chuckleheads who tried to silence Ms. Bullwinkle wouldn’t need additional training because they’d know censorship is one of the worst violations of the First Amendment.
Technorati: Haley Bullwinkle, First Amendment, Speech Codes, Canyon High School, Censorship, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Federalist Papers, Founding Fathers, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, History