I was reading an ABC news story this morning and something bothered me about it. The story seems almost routine, run-of-the-mill, these days. By these days, I mean something I call "the modern era". This would not have happened back in the 50's when I was the boy's age for three reasons:
1. We were not permitted to wear T-shirts to school
2. T-shirts did not have slogans or messages on them
3. We learned about Freedom of Speech as students but did not have that right.
Let me recap in case the story link fails:
A lad of 14 in West Virginia wore a T-shirt with the letters "NRA", a picture of a rifle, and the words "Protect Your Right" printed on it. After several hours of no one paying any attention, a band teacher confronted him about the shirt and told him to remove it. He refused. It became a a loud argument, one supposes, because the police were apparently called in. In the end, the student was arrested for "nearly inciting a riot" (as it was described) and, thus, we have this story. The young man now has an attorney and some fame.
The school apparently has no rule against wearing a T-shirt and no rule on what it is allowed to have printed on it other than ones about profanity and obscenity. The student violated no rule, apparently, only the teacher's political sensibility.
My first question was: Why wasn't the teacher arrested? After all, he started the confrontation and the police always isolate (arrest, detain, stuck in the back of a police car or two) all the primary participants in a noisy confrontation in my experience.
My second question was: Where the heck was the principal? She shows up later, after the fact, doing a bit of PR and hand-wringing but she lets the police be called and she isn't on the scene before that happens????
There are some rather stupid comments on the story which prove, once again, to me that people do not understand the concept of freedom of speech.
A Night Unremembered
7 years ago