Carson Valley Middle School just suspended a dozen 9th graders because of marijuana -- not because they were smoking it, but because they were advocating the legalization of it.
According to the Associated Press, students at the Nevada school hung more than two dozen signs calling for the legalization of pot and for authorities to “free” three of their classmates who had apparently been taken into custody for “suspicion of smoking marijuana.”
A valuable example of free speech in action -- a teachable moment, perhaps? Not to school principal Robert Been. "What they did is not a cool thing to do. It just stirs up the campus," he told the Associated Press. "It's not conducive to our education environment. This is a school for crying out loud."
Indeed, it is a school, a place of learning where freedom of thought and expression are supposed to be encouraged … right? That’s what the ACLU of Nevada thinks, charging that the students weren’t suspended for what they did -- hang a few posters -- but for what they said.
School administrators should be nurturing peaceful, free expression, not suppressing it. Tell Principal Been and his boss, Superintendent Lisa Noonan, to state, for the record, that from now on they will support the right of students to exercise their freedom of speech -- and that they regret the decision to suspend young Americans simply for exercising that right.
Photo Credit: Carson Valley Middle School
I was disappointed to read about the decision to suspend 12 of students at Carson Valley Middle School simply because they exercised their right to free speech. Rather than punishing students for peacefully expressing their thoughts, you should be encouraging open and free debate.
I am writing to encourage you to reconsider your actions and state, for the record, that from now on you will support the right of your students to speak out on the news and controversies of the day, peacefully and with respect for others’ views. And I hope you will issue an apology to those students you suspended solely for exercising their rights as young Americans.
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