Student Rights Essay

1426 words - 6 pages

Are you in the mood for some good reading? The other day I was in the Guidance Office looking for guidance when I saw an unassuming three page packet. Having nothing else to do, I picked one up and began reading. I learned that the name of this little manual is the Student's Rights and Responsibilities Bill. I thought to myself, 'my, what a great place is La Follette, that I can simply walk into my guidance office and learn my rights as a student. But wait, why must I pursue this information on my own? Why isn't this information in my handy handbook issued to me at the beginning of the school year? I ought to read this!' So I read. Soon I realized why our School Board may not want students realizing what we are actually entitled to. Right away in the Preamble, it states 'students have the responsibility to respect rights of all persons involved in the educational process and exercise the highest degree of self-discipline in observing and adhering to legitimate rules.' The first thing I thought was 'WOW! That sounds great! The School Board really trusts me as a free-thinking individual to respect people and be respected. I love this school!' But wait. Before we all stage an 'I love Cheryl Wilhoyte' love-fest, let's take a look at what these 'legitimate rules' are, particularly as they apply to freedom of speech, expression, and something they like to call 'material disruption of the educational environment.'The first item on the list is literature, specifically a student's right to post it. It reads 'Students shall have the right to post any literature of a non-commercial nature without prior censorship or approval by the Administration or School Board in any designated posting area, provided, however, the designated representative shall be accorded the right to remove posted material s/he considers obscene, libelous or will cause material disruption to the educational environment.' Let's stop and think a bit. I have the right to post whatever I want so long as my Administrators agree with it? Whose rights are we really talking about here? Well, I began to think and it occurred to me that maybe my Administrators and School Board representatives aren't so concerned that I express myself however I like. But, I can see their point; after all, I probably wouldn't want fifteen hundred students posting whatever they wanted to either. They might start to see the world outside these walls.I proceeded reading. The next civil liberties violation I came across is stated as such: 'Students shall have the right to wear buttons. . .and other symbolic expression provided these expressions are not obscene, libelous, or cause material disruption of the educational environment.' So if I, Joe Student, am actively pro-life and I want to wear a button with a picture of an aborted fetus, I can't because someone is offended? Isn't that the point of democracy? To believe in something no matter what other people say and being able to voice an opinion? Am I expected to...

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