First Amendment, Second Class Education
And if, by whatever circumstance, we deigned to walk out of class (or, more commonly, were ordered out by the teacher on account of our suboptimal decorum), we were required to report directly to the Vice Principal's office for such action as he deemed appropriate. All else being equal, the consequences would be a one day after-school detention for the first offense, a two day after-school detention for the second offense, and a one-day suspension for the third offense (a level I was skillful enough to personally achieve).
But now, the New York Civil Liberties Union takes the position that students should be allowed to walk out of classes with impunity if the action is for political purposes! Some students at the Ralph J. Reed Middle School in Central Islip, NY, walked out of classes in protest against some proposed budget cuts by the school district.
Hey, aren't the students allowed to exercise their First Amendment free speech rights by talking about whatever the wish during travel time between classes, during lunch, before and after school, et cetera? Shouldn't the teachers have the right to demand the undivided attention of the students during classes? Apparently, the NYCLU (and by extension, its parent organization, the ACLU, from whose policies the NYCLU would never deviate) thinks that freely walking out of classes in the name of free expression and the First Amendment is more important than a first-rate education.
I can see reasons for prioritizing free expression over education. But if students seek to walk in and out of classes, willy-nilly, and thereby subvert the educational process and the teachers' lesson plans, then they should exercise their First Amendment rights on their parents' dimes, and not the taxpayers'. Because if the teachers are not allowed to teach, then they are relegated to being babysitters, and should be paid babysitter wages with our tax money and not teacher wages.
Better still -- Get the students who do not want to learn out of the classrooms, so that those dedicated professionals in the classrooms can get their smaller class sizes, and those students who do wish to learn can do so without the distraction of the other pantywaist.
There is a time and place for political protest. But there also is a time and place for the education of our children.
To Central Islip School District Superintendent Craig Carr, I say stand by the suspensions and tell the NYCLU to go take a hike!