Friday, October 26, 2007

Go, Caitlyn and Justin!

I'm not sure whether this is really, really disturbing, or incredibly inspiring. What does one say about the fact that a couple of Georgia high-school kids have a better grasp of the meaning of the First Amendment than their own principal? (Let's not even get started on the guy's understanding of literature.)

Senior Justin Jones wrote a piece, echoing Jonathan Swift's famed 18th-century satire "A Modest Proposal" in the September issue of Smoke Signals, East Coweta High's student newspaper. In Justin's essay, which he dubbed, "Another Modest Proposal," he suggested that perhaps students with low IQs should be euthanized. A column in the same issue, written by managing editor Caitlyn VanOrder, critiqued the East Coweta Princess beauty pageant.

Principal Derek Pitts objected to the essays and confiscated 500 copies of the student newspaper.

Apparently, Principal Pitts doesn't quite understand that the rights of free speech don't only apply to messages that are "positive" and "uplifting." Certainly, as we know, if that were the case, our forefathers wouldn't have needed to include a First Amendment. We'd also all be a lot more poorly informed, as anyone knows who's ever spent even five minutes watching Bill O'Reilly, for instance. OK, bad example. He's neither positive, nor uplifting.

Principal Pitts has now spurred a free-speech crusade. According to the AJR editorial, Caitlyn resigned her editing position in protest. Now she has created a Facebook site about the saga and is organizing a First Amendment rally.
As the Atlanta Journal Constitution editorial says
While the U.S. Supreme Court granted school administrators the right to censor some student publications, it stipulated that officials show reasonable educational justification. The justification at East Coweta seems neither reasonable nor educational.

Now if we could just get Caitlyn and Justin to perhaps explain the constitutional due process rights of habeas corpus to our esteemed grownups in Congress.

Lauri in York

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