Stand up for free speech at Plano East

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Recently, a leaked image of a private message showing allegedly homophobic and intolerant content created a populist outcry on campus. Vengeful, virtue signaling “activists” have created a petition on this very platform, entitled “Demonstrate that Plano East Senior High School doesn’t tolerate intolerance.” This petition seeks the expulsion of their peers for admittedly insensitive jokes shared in the confidence of a private group chat. Without seeking to understand the broader context of the comments, those who promoted this petition rushed to shame their fellow students, hoping to ruin their lives.

The purpose of this petition is to express condemnation of the violation of these students’ privacy, and the attempt to suppress free speech on our campus. While only intolerant people would support these comments had they been shared with serious intentions and by someone truly believing in the principles expressed, this was likely not the case. We cannot assume that the jokes shared by an individual, however obscene, are true representations of their beliefs. Snapchat is a social, not political platform and comments posted on this network are different from those expressed in political discourse. Even if these comments were the true beliefs of the students in question, the creation of a petition to destroy their futures would still be an overreaction of biblical proportions. Freedom of speech means that people have the right to joke, but also to be intolerant. To disagree, and to express disgust is noble and should be encouraged, it is, after all, our right under the first amendment, but to pursue life-changing action against people with whom we disagree is tyrannical and bears the hallmarks of a witch hunt.

To paraphrase Voltaire, we may not agree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it.

The expectation that school administration should, acting on the whim of hypocritical students, exert influence and control over the private lives and speech of students is a dangerous precedent in need of opposition.

Please sign this petition to express support for freedom of speech on campus. Together we can send the message that students need to be more tolerant of opinions differing from theirs and avoid sanctimonious outrage in the face of jokes they deem offensive.