Wednesday, November 21, 2007

School Political Correctness Gone Too Far

This came to my attention this morning thanks to a person I work with. KMBZ Morning Talk Show Host Darla Jaye's sho this morning spent time discussing the suspension of Travis Grigsby from Lee's Summit West High School. Travis is Boy Scout just shy of Eagle, drummer in the marching band, and honor roll student, who was suspended from school, originally for ten days, because he said he knew how to tie a noose.

According to Fox-4 in Kansas City, this occurred after a football game as the band was packing up equipment. There was a discussion of what knots were best to use to tie up the band equipment.

Fox-4 reports:
Someone asked if anybody knew how to tie a noose and Travis did admit he knew how to tie a noose," Kim Grigsby said.

Travis' mom said her son is almost an Eagle Scout, he knew how to tie it, but told his friends he wouldn't because you could get in trouble for that. Later, a black student on the drum line told the teacher he was offended.

"Travis was accused of using a racial slur for saying the word 'noose.' Then he was suspended for 10 days," Kim said.

She said the school district accused the boys of having a racially charged conversation about nooses, but Travis and Alex insist that's not what happened.

The school reduced the suspension to five days.
This is a complete travesty of justice and I personally question whether this student's civil rights- namely free speech- have been violated.

YES, I KNOW, Bethel School District v. Fraser puts limits on Freedom of Speech for students; however, Tinker v. Des Moines clearly states that students do not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate" and provides boundaries for the School as well in determining when a student's speech may be restricted. The District in this case punished a student for saying he knew how to tie knot. It does not appear from the press accounts that this was disruptive. It only appears that a single student was offended. Why this student was offended though remains unclear to me.

To me, this is a case where a School's attempt to be "politically correct" is trampling all over a student's limited right to Freedom of Speech.

And yes, I know how to tie a noose. I also know how to tie a slip-knot, a sheepshank, a half-hitch, a square-knot and MY SHOES— I guess I should get suspended too.


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