Protecting Electronic Insults Is Insulting

A Connecticut state lawmaker is proposing legislation that would bar schools from punishing students for their electronic insults – even if they write them on class computers during school hours.

This idiocy is in response to the punishment meted out to Avery Doninger, a 17 year old high-schooler who was disciplined in 2007 for writing a blog from home using vulgar language to defame and insult school administrators.

School authorities barred her from running for office at Lewis B. Mills High School in Burlington as a “punishment.”

Her parents – of course– are suing!

I can’t believe I heard the whole thing.

On FoxNews.com, almost 100 people put in their two cents; the following was the most cogent of the bunch:

“‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’  As far as I can tell, Congress did not impede on her freedom of speech. The child needs to learn that while she is free to say whatever she feels, there are repercussions to the things we say.”

And there it is.  You have the freedom so say whatever you’d like – without any consequences?  I think not.

Colleges and employers have recourse to Internet records and can judge students by the electronic trail they’ve left behind, according to Tom Hutton, senior staff attorney for the NSBA (National School Board Association).  Well, let that be a lesson to adolescents who feel bigger than their britches with this pending legislation!

The girl’s mother “wished her daughter ‘had used more sophisticated language.’”  Instead of standing by the school punishment to teach her daughter the consequences of not thinking behavior through in advance of indelible actions, she’s making it a cause for free speech. 

Oh please.  It’s another one of those cases of parents defending their children right or wrong because they don’t want any criticism or don’t want to risk their children’s ire by punishing them for wrong- or stupid-doings. 

Imagine if the teacher had put on a website that this girl was a “douche bag.”  Would anyone defend the teacher or would he or she have to take sensitivity classes and then be fired anyway?

We are getting way too far in “The Lord of the Flies” for my tastes.