First Amendment Friday: I am scared

When I start thinking about the First Amendment climate at schools in the United States, I start sweating like a beer on a picnic table in August.

It is getting bad. And teachers aren’t helping. A post on the Student Press Law Center blog says that students are more supportive of free speech than teachers. What a shame. First of all, teachers should be leaders that set an example. But beyond that, any parent can tell you that excessive attempts to control behavior lead to more problems.

Students, when allowed freedom, make mistakes but usually find their way. And they learn in the process. And there already exist remedies for the worst transgressions. Stifling free speech is not the answer.  And it most certainly isn’t education.

As an aside, let me say this.  If you are looking for a charitable contribution to make this year, make one to The Student Press Law Center. Please.

Most of you are in the college journalism game, so I don’t have to tell you this. But I am going to anyway. You know how you bust your ass? You know all those hours you put in? You know how you agonize over fonts, point sizes and active voice headlines? You know how you give your soul to your craft?

Frank LoMonte works harder than you.

I know, I am irritated, too. How is it possible? But it is. And he does. And he does it for you. And me. And the guy across the state who just got his editorial pulled. And the high school student who just wanted to tell the truth.

You don’t have to like that he works harder than us. I don’t. But I will send what I can this year to the SPLC. And I am out of work. And I will continue to thank my lucky stars that he is out there making me look lazy. Help me help him to help us all.

End of sermon.



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