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Freedom of Speech in Schools

In: Historical Events

Submitted By danielle91299
Words 618
Pages 3
"I have a dream!" goes the famous speech. Famous words about freedom, about enforcing principles, and about anti-discrimination. But it appears we have fallen behind. For I know a place where you are guilty until proven innocent; where freedom of speech is ignored; where the rights of the people are stomped upon by their higher-ups, and where freedom of expression is restricted. "Where"" I hear you cry. "Let us strike down this bastion of discrimination and oppression within our borders! There cannot be a place such as this inside a country such as ours!" But there is. And it is here, at grade schools. Places where you cannot write what you wish, without it being edited for content. You cannot say what you want, at risk of being given detention or worse. You cannot write a paper for fear you will be made to prove that it is your work. You can be detained on the arbitrary whim of a faculty member. And all of this is very troubling, not in the least because it directly contradicts the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, enforceable under the Constitution Act.

The academic honesty policy is disgusting. In practice, it means that if a teacher suspects you of cheating on a paper, you have to prove you didn't. Of course, the fact that this completely contradicts section 11d of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (hereafter referred to as the CCRF) doesn't cross their minds. Because the only place the law is not the law is within these walls.

The fact that you are not allowed to show disrespect to a teacher is disgusting. In practice, this means that you have been completely restricted in your rights to free speech, even though it completely contradicts section 2b of the CCRF. You are allowed to insult the prime minister on national TV, and yet you are not allowed to swear at a teacher? This can only happen within these walls.

The fact that any teacher can detain you arbitrarily is disgusting. In practice, this means that any teacher, on a whim, can give you detention, send you to the principal's office (In effect, arresting you) or "Ask" you to submit to detention. This is, again, a contradiction of section 9 of the CCRF. Where can this happen? Only within these walls.

Are these the rules that you want to be governed under? Those rules, which are themselves illegal? Being a quasi-government agency as the school board is does not make them immune to the law. Good tax dollars go towards our schools. I don't want them to go towards prisons for students. I want them to go towards students. Don't you?

So the next time a teacher kicks you out of class for that smart comment, or for talking, or anything else, don't just blithely go along. Remember, you have rights too. You cannot be discriminated against as a lesser class of citizen. Do you want to know why teachers haven't used force against students? (Aside from the fact that their parents would sue the pants off the school) It's because there are usually 30 students to each teacher. Remember, a teacher can only enforce their rules on you if you let them. This is NOT an advocacy to mouth off, or misbehave. I like having uninterrupted classes. But that does not mean that we have to sit down and silently be manipulated by the faculty. Where the rule of law contradicts the rules of the school, remember: the law MUST always win. Because unless we do something about it, the only place broad-scale violations of the law go unpunished are within these walls.

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