Teen anarchist sues school principal
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  1. #1

    Teen anarchist sues school principal

    I am an avid fan of CourtTV, and this morning, they are covering a case that has a lot of good potential for the so-called limitations of free speech. Here is the story

    Apparently, this student was suspended from school for trying to start an anarchy club:

    When 15-year-old Katie Sierra wore T-shirts bearing this version of the American pledge as well as other sayings that showed her opposition to the war in Afghanistan, teachers and students at her West Virginia High School were outraged.

    Some students of Sissonville High School allegedly threatened to give Katie a taste of "West Virginia justice."
    Does this mean she is pushing "anti-government" views and therefore possible terrorist like views, or is she simply "mad" at the system? She claims her school (and town in general) is:

    says she heard that the West Virginia High School wasn't as liberal as other schools she was used to, and characterizes the students as bigots.
    And the schools argument is:

    The school's principal, Forrest Mann, suspended Katie for three days and forbid her to wear the controversial shirts, saying that her behavior was "disrupting school activity." Mann says his job is to guarantee students a safe school and good education which became impossible in the volatile environment resulting from the controversy. Mann also denied Katie's request to start an anarchy club.
    Which is right? That is a tough question indeed especially after the 9/11 attacks and the general fear of anti-american views. I have no idea if this will be a landmark case, but it might reexamine the importance of free speech, and how this right distinguishes our country from many others.

  2. #2
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    On one hand, I think it's ridiculous. On the other, I firmly believe a school should have the right to set a dress code. In the case of the WV girl, this code appears to be arbitrary. Considering what kids wear to school these days, I don't consider it more than a form of protest.

    The schools today have gone overboard, suspending kids for playing cops and robbers or war, things like that. This, without some type of written rules, seems to be another incident of over reaction. On the other hand, not that I'm waffling, if she was truly "disrupting" class, then she should have been sent home to change the shirt. I didn't see the Court TV case, so am basically talking out of my hat.

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    what i feel is that the girl is too young to understand the freedom of speech, she just knows that there is something like "freedom of speech", but the actual meaning and the actual power of "freedom of speech" is completely misunderstood.
    U get What U pay for.

  4. #4
    er0k
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    i kind of know how that goes down, being one of the only "activists" in mah school and constantly getting in political battles with the class, and my teachers against me, which normally result in the other students shouting lude remarks back and forth. i believe it is in every right for her to act like she did, and she shouldnt be bothered by it. GO HER!

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    That's possible, too, harbir. Freedom of speech, freedom of all things, are important, but need to be learned and understood. When I went to school, around the time Cro-Magnon Man displaced the Neanderthal, it was understood that you were there to learn. There was a dress code, and codes of conduct in class. We weren't even allowed to wear jeans and the females had to be in dresses or skirts. On the other hand, that was a parochial school and nobody, parents included, argued with the Nuns. If you wanted your kid there, those were some of the rules. I think those restrictions helped me in later years.

  6. #6
    Purveyor of Lather Syini666's Avatar
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    I must say, the school board handled that very poorly. It seems like her school has plenty of blind patriots that didn't take the time to really understand her postion and views. Her views seem more patriotic and anti-american, because she cares enough about the country to want to change it, to make it better.

    Another showed a picture of an American flag turned up-side-down with an anarchy symbol drawn through it.
    Some of you might not be aware, but an inverted american flag is a military symbol of distress, thought I'm not sure if its still a known/used symbol today.

    Hopefully she's learned a bit about voicing oppinons in public schools, because its a very touchy area that ive found myself in before.
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    The girl, in my opinion, has done nothing wrong. She got suspended for trying to start a club... that makes exactly no sense. School "clubs" need school "sponsors" which are usually just one teacher who will oversee the meetings and the like... at least that's how it is here. All the school people would have to do is say "no, I will not sponsor that" and it'd be over. There should have never been suspension of any kind, at ALL. This is ridiculous.

    I was suspended the day after those Columbine School shooting things for wearing my trench coat. I got one day for my ignorance. I'd not watched the television at all the day before (I used to be very much into sports and it took my time) so I walked to school like every other day of that year in my normal dress: black leather trench coat, kikwears, T, and some Doc Martins. I walk into the lunch room, which is where you go before school if you get there a bit early (and I always did to get to hang with my friends for a bit before class), and immediately people begin to scream and yell, and one kid threw a freaking orange at me. Bastard.

    So, anyways, to make a long rant short, this chick shouldn't have ever gotten in trouble and it shouldn't be going as far as court, nor should I've gotten in trouble. Just as Chuck56 said, this is an extreme case of over-reaction.

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    Jehnny, a question. We both agree that the schools, yours and the WV one were wrong. As apparently one of the younger generation, what would your feelings be on a written dress code be? There's discussion of adopting one in a city here in my State and it's causing an uproar. Just curious.

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    I think if you have a choice of where to go and one school has a dress code and another one doesn't, then it's fine to have a dress code. However, if there is no choice, or the dress coding of the kids doesn't significantly decrease the percentage of bad things happening or fix whatever's wrong, then there should not be one.

    There are many different situations in which there should and should not, in my opinion, be dress codes.

    In a situation where a school has had tons of problems with things such as gang fights and the such, a dress code would obviously help. It would prevent kids from coming to school wearing their "gang colors" or whatever and would knock down the violence at that school. Most schools in the United States do not have that problem, I am aware, but for the public schools here it is kinda bad.

    In a situation where a person chooses to go to a private school, like I did this past year (thank God for the scholarship), then there should be no dispute whatsoever as to how you dress. If it's your choice to go there, then you have to abide by their rules or else leave. It's that simple.

    In a situation where a school is perfect: no extreme violence, no extreme sex crimes, no extreme racism, etc., there should not be a specific dress code.

    Now, let me detail, by saying a "dress code" should/shouldn't be required, I do not mean a girl can come to school wearing close to nothing or a boy can come with his pants below his knees. I mean a dress code such as wearing all white, every day, only. Or having to tuck in your shirt and have a collar (like at my school) and wear slacks with a tie and boots/dress shoes.

    There ya go.

  10. #10
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    Thanks, Jehnny. It makes sense to me. I went to a Catholic school a llooonnnggg time ago and style of dress was very strictly enforced. The schools I mentioned are in Albuquerque and there are serious gang problems in that city. That's been mentioned repeatedly as the reason, and yes, in that case, not wearing gang colors to school does make sense.

    In my school days, about the time the Mammoth disappeared, it was an entirely different world.

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