What Right Do Schools Have to Discipline Students for What They Say Off Campus? – Wendy Kaminer – National – The Atlantic

Griffith Middle School in Indiana aims to transform “learners today” into “leaders tomorrow.” Leaders of which country, I wonder, after reading the Griffith Middle School Handbook. North Korea? The U.S. Constitution appears to have no standing in Griffith.

Students who have the misfortune to attend school here have virtually no speech rights, pursuant to vague, arbitrary anti-bullying and intimidation rules that include such cryptic provisions as a ban on “innuendos,” for which they may be suspended or expelled. They are subject to rules against using or possessing profanity, pornography or obscenity that include a breathtakingly vague prohibition of “other inappropriate materials” and a ban on “using or writing derogatory written materials.” I suppose they could be disciplined for reading this post, which intentionally derogates Griffith School administrators.

Griffith students should perhaps learn to behave like obedient little automatons: They may be expelled for displaying “disrespect” toward staff or other students or for “disruptive behavior,” including “chronic lack of supplies” and “arguing;” (so much for the spirit of free inquiry). They may be suspended for “hall misconduct,” which includes “boisterous behavior” as well as failure to walk on the right.

via What Right Do Schools Have to Discipline Students for What They Say Off Campus? – Wendy Kaminer – National – The Atlantic.

I lived in Griffith for eight long years. And I’m not terribly surprised to learn that the school system there does stupid things.

Of course, if the students had been football players… no discipline would have been imposed.

4 thoughts on “What Right Do Schools Have to Discipline Students for What They Say Off Campus? – Wendy Kaminer – National – The Atlantic”


    Are you in contact with any of the people involved with restoring Lex’s blog? If you remember, we met at Lex’s service in March. At the reception, Mary LeFon asked me to help her by being an intermediary between her and USNI Press. Tomorrow a Mr. Russell of USNI Press is going to call me looking for information about Lex’s manuscript. This morning a gentleman called me (I believe at the request of Beth [Fbl]) and gave me ‘phone numbers to contact Mary. I thing it would be helpful if I could get in touch with those who are working to restore Lex’s blog. If you can/will help, please contact me by ‘phone: (edited for privacy’s sake-XBrad)

    Thank you, Paul

  2. I bet we know who the school administrators voted for. That is a very Progressive line of thought.

  3. It’s interesting that they term it this way. I went to a private highschool back in the pre-social media era. The priests who ran the place made a few things very clear. One was that we were being taught tobe “Men for others”. The other was that if we were caught doing anything off campus something that would prohibited on campus, that the school would discipline you. It wasn’t so much of a problem for me (d&d playing geeks rarely have to worry about such things), but there were a couple of guys a few years who got caught up I the school’s universal jurisdiction over alcohol and/or drugs during a break period.

  4. I’m torn on issues like these. On the one hand, I’m of the opinion that kids (who are not “citizens” per se) don’t actually have Free Speech rights. Reach the age of majority, and then I think you have rights. Until then, if you can’t be judged competent to be held responsible for your misdeeds in a court of law (after all, the poor dears CAN’T be expected to tell right from wrong), then we can’t trust them to properly understand and practice their rights responsibly.

    On the other hand, I have serious problems with a school trying to monitor the behavior of students who are not on school property or time. They’re not a parent, they’re a school. The student is the customer of the school, not property of or a subject of the school. And if this school is NOT a private school (which would invalidate ANY concerns I have, as the parents chose to have their children attend), I am doubly concerned as public schools eliminate the ability of parents to choose, save if they can afford to place their children in private schools.

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