The First Amendment protects so many rights. It protects the rights of citizens to peaceably assemble; it protects the right to speak freely…
…and yes, it protects the right for idiots to spew nonsense.
Three students at a North Carolina high school now face criminal charges for their involvement in a stunt that included wearing a Confederate Flag and shouting “white power.”
Several students placed a Confederate flag on display in a courtyard at West Brunswick High School before it was taken down by another student. When it was taken down, an obnoxious teenager donned the flag as a cape and paraded through the campus repeatedly calling-out “white power.”
For their roles in this stunt, the students received criminal charges for disorderly conduct.
Though the First Amendment protects stupid speech, in a school setting, causing a disruption with this speech is certainly grounds for internal discipline. Had the school suspended the students, few would raise eyebrows. However, in America today, it seems holding an unpopular belief system is enough to face criminal charges.
Brunswick County Schools spokeswoman Jessica Swencki claimed that the charges stem not from the use of the flag, but from their alleged disruption.
“The issue at hand is truly the disruption,” she said. “If students create a significant disruption to our school environment … (they) can be removed from the instructional environment until the disruption is no longer an issue.”
As someone who caused many disruptions to the learning environment in his day, I can attest that causing a disruption frequently demands a removal from class and sometimes disciplinary actions. However, what Ms. Swencki fails to explain is how this disruption constitutes police involvement.
Many students around the school have jumped on the “social justice is more important than free expression” bandwagon and have begun wearing all black in order to showcase their unwillingness to tolerate speech which offends them.
Few should view this outburst as a constructive discussion of racial politics and even fewer should view this as a morally or socially justifiable view. However, those who seek to combat racism should feel compelled to combat such ideologies with dialogue; declaring that expressions of racial supremacy are verboten will not change thinking.
Further, one cannot help but see the hypocrisy on a larger societal level. A group of obnoxious people descend upon malls, restaurants and schools and assert their racist ideologies and call for segregationist policies and they are hailed as heroes of the Black Lives Matter “movement.”
A group of idiots chant “white power” with a Confederate Flag and they’re facing charges.