Justice For Connor Darby - Bring Him Back
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Monday, May 15th, 2017, Connor Darby turned in an essay that was assigned by Mrs. Brittany White to all of her classes. The prompt was in reference to the book we were reading in class: "The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Walls, and we were asked to write a full page essay describing what our "glass castle" is, or where we can go in our home or in the world to escape and feel free from our problems. Connor felt that there really was no escape for him, and decided to write his essay on how his teachers make his life at school difficult and makes him feel unsafe, in turn, taking away what would have been his "glass castle." He voiced his opinions on three teachers: His first period teacher, his second period teacher, and his fourth period teacher. In reference to his first period teacher, he said he was "volatile" and could be "passive aggressive if no one wants to listen to him." He also said this teacher rarely teaches, and because of this people rarely pay attention and he "yell(s) at and berate(s) his students." and "sometimes curses [his students] out under his breath." In reference to his second period teacher, he says that he is also passive aggressive, makes "inappropriate comments," and doesn't stay on topic. He also says that this teacher teaches more about his personal life and his financial and medical situations, and that this class is a "toxic environment," and that he feels that the teacher shouldn't be one. Finally, in reference to his fourth period teacher, he says that she "treats [her students] like kindergartners," and brings up that she doesn't feel her students responsible enough to keep their bags at their desks, and she makes her students put their bags on hooks at the front of the room every day. His final note mentions that he finds her class bearable only because knows other students feel the same way.
Connor expressed his opinions about his environment and the teaching habits of his teachers, while not attacking them as people, and not saying anything slanderous or that can't be supported by many other students. In fact, his speech is covered under the "free speech" portion of the Volusia County Schools official code of conduct which states "Students are entitled to freedom of expression of their views unless there are legal reasons to regulate their speech or publications." Legal reasons of which there are none in violation. It also states that the responsibility of the students is to "refrain from speech and/or the distribution or display of material, which could cause conduct that would interfere with discipline or cause disorder." None of this conduct stated was violated. His essay was brought to the attention of the teachers in question, and the consequence Connor is facing is suspension for the rest of the school year. Many of us feel that this was the incorrect response, and we ask that you sign this petition to show that he deserves to come back to school. Connor was using his voice as a student to take a stand where many people wouldn't, and bring to light real problems that he was facing. He deserves to come back to school, and we sign this in hopes that he gets his justice.
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