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[P]
Free my school

By crayz in News
Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 10:04:25 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

As a high school senior(well barely - two weeks until graduation), I'm submitting this as a piece of advice to everyone else here who?s still stuck in a tyrannical hell hole known as a public high school: fight back. Don't let schools morph into some Orwellian nightware. Don't stay silent while two-bit civil servants take your privacy and freedom of speech. Believing you are powerless is a self-fulfilling prophecy.


The reason this is relevant to kuro5hin is that one of the cheapest, easiest ways to fight back is through the internet. In days gone by, students would set up true underground newspapers, printed ones. But doing this can be expensive and difficult, and it’s hard to reach everyone in the school. But if you have even a basic computer literacy, setting up a web site is a piece of cake. There are oodles of free services ready to host your site, WYSIWYG editors to help you create it, and students ready to visit it. All you have to do is add content.

Also, because web sites fall under the Tinker vs. Des Moines court case, and not Hazelwood, you will have close to full First Amendment protection of your right to free speech.

The past few years, especially since Columbine, have seen ever-decreasing amounts of student freedom and privacy. It doesn’t have to be that way. But students must first take the initiative. Most students don’t understand the rights they have, and most parents have false impressions of the dangers of public schools. With the web, it has become easier to educate them on these things.

If you want your voice to be heard, this is the way to do it.

-crayz
Free PHS

The reason I reposted this is because I was getting a lot of complaints that I wasn't specific, didn't give examples, etc. I didn't because this was not supposed to be about my specific high school, but to students in general, whatever their situations are.

However, I think many of you also missed my link. The site I created is at www.penfield.f2s.com

In regards to my school, specifically:

- There has been illegal censorship(see Censorship page)
- they have installed surveillance cameras, ostensibly for our safety, even when a student's chance of being killed in school is 1/2,000,000
- they have conducted locked-in-the-classroom drug dog searches, which, while legal, I find incredibly offensive

I discuss all of this more in-depth on the site, and there is a message board where students have been discussing this(try the old board for a larger archive). Again, I think many of you missed the link, which was probably my fault for making it very small at the bottom.

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Related Links
o Kuro5hin
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o www.penfie ld.f2s.com
o Censorship
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o Also by crayz


Display: Sort:
Free my school | 80 comments (80 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Thanks for making some additions. ... (3.00 / 2) (#17)
by Arkady on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 05:47:24 PM EST

Arkady voted 1 on this story.

Thanks for making some additions. I think the suggestion is interesting and on an important topic, so I'm still voting 1 because I think the topic deserves discussion. This raises an interesting problem though: if I vote 1 on this version, I can't retract the 1 on the previous version, so both could eventually go up. And the auther can't retract the previous version, or edit the changes into it. Looks like post editing just got a push towards the front of the feature queue ... ;)

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.


Hrm. The reason I voted no the firs... (4.00 / 2) (#1)
by rusty on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 06:20:43 PM EST

rusty voted -1 on this story.

Hrm. The reason I voted no the first time was because we've already covered this topic in more depth recently, in Edumakashun does(n't) werk! and Followup: What's wrong with public schools?. I feel like this belongs more as a comment under one of those. Nothing personal. :-)

____
Not the real rusty

The "Penfield" in PHS is the Penfie... (4.00 / 1) (#7)
by bobsquatch on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 06:22:10 PM EST

bobsquatch voted 1 on this story.

The "Penfield" in PHS is the Penfield just outside of Rochester, NY, right? I caught a mention of Five Mile Line Road deep in one of your pages; that was the first (only) thing that tipped me off. If you're going to advertise these pages beyond the local crowd, you might make it clear which PHS you're talking about.

Otherwise, good site, and good luck!

I agree. ... (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by tzanger on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 07:18:19 PM EST

tzanger voted 1 on this story.

I agree.

It's been years since I've been in high school but the whole point is that people who are there living it now feel, just as I did, that there wasn't much you could do so you had to just bear it.



Well, I've seen this particular pag... (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by magney on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 07:25:25 PM EST

magney voted 1 on this story.

Well, I've seen this particular page before, a long time ago (on the Other Place, in fact, unless my memory fails me), but it bears repeating. There was nothing about the school system where I grew up that would have prevented something like this - my own school was not fascist in this fashion, but that's only because the administration were good people, not because there was anything in place to stop them.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?

First of all, I support the cameras... (3.00 / 2) (#9)
by Velian on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 07:27:39 PM EST

Velian voted 0 on this story.

First of all, I support the cameras and such. Second, you still don't specify what you're talking about in the first part of the write-up. And third, this isn't a common problem.

Some intersting discussion could co... (2.00 / 1) (#27)
by Dr. Zowie on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 07:41:09 PM EST

Dr. Zowie voted 1 on this story.

Some intersting discussion could come out of it, even though the topic is getting a bit fusty.

Again, I say: Whine, whine, whine.... (3.70 / 7) (#16)
by Greyjack on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 07:45:10 PM EST

Greyjack voted -1 on this story.

Again, I say: Whine, whine, whine.

Yeah, sure, things are worse now than they *ever* have been, whatever. Why, personal freedoms have been eroding so steadily, heck, back in the 50's they had 20 TIMES the freedoms you kids do now.

Man, give it a rest. High School's always been high school, and it'll always be high school. Just because you're in it *now* doesn't mean you know diddly-squat about where it's been or where it's going.

Go back a few decades and compare -- the general perception is that high school then was less dangerous; however, if you ask your parents/grandparents, I'll wager they had far less freedom than what you're complaining about.

Personally, I don't think anyone living in suburbia really has any case to complain, compared to the plight of urban inner-city schools and communities. (and you wanna talk about unpleasant time in high school? Just imagine what it would've been like as a black student down South in the 50's. Yikes)

But, to sum up: it's called life, Chester, deal with it.

--
Here is my philosophy: Everything changes (the word "everything" has just changed as the word "change" has: it now means "no change") --Ron Padgett


This story seems pretty insightful ... (3.00 / 2) (#21)
by AArthur on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 08:02:12 PM EST

AArthur voted 1 on this story.

This story seems pretty insightful about problems with the American Socialist School System (ass?). The fact is, while the goverment is democratic, the real name would probably have to have buercrat somewhere in it. I know you fustration in getting people to listen and do stuff for you -- everybody seems not to be in control of a problem when it comes down to it -- although many will take responsibility for a success.

Of course, it is clear that some of your ideas are a bit radical and incorrect. Your censorship is alot of bullshit to be said simply. Common, you expect to be able to post signs anywhere you want without approval. The school is a community place -- therefore to post a sign you need to get approval by the community -- take it to the prinicpal, try to reason it out with him. And then if you can't work it out with him, take it to the school board. The school board is likely to be much more open minded, especially if it has several liberal democrats :) I mean, are you allowed to put signs anywhere you want -- of course not. Both zoning laws, communities and property owners don't want you to do this -- who wants to live in a community that somebody has just placed a sign below the "Welcome to Westerlo" that says "Fuck You Bitch".

I mean, people get real. Laws and rules are in place for a reason, if you don't like them change them. If the principal refuses to listen to student goverment, go to school board, your parents or the board of education. Trust me, get your parents to raise hell with the school (have them call State Ed. for example with a complaint), it's not likely the school is going to forget them.

Finally, it sounds more like a specfic school problem, then a general one. Personally, going to Greenville Centeral High School, a rural (25 miles SW of Albany, NY) high school, I have heard of few of the problems you talk of. Yes things have gone downhill over the past few years, and society probably can take most of the blame for that.

Andrew B. Arthur | aarthur@imaclinux.net | http://hvcc.edu/~aa310264

Re: This story seems pretty insightful ... (none / 0) (#37)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:25:12 PM EST

On the censorship, here are some things to consider:

- none of my signs contained profanity(unless you consider hell to be profane, and that was only one sign)
- other students are allowed to put up signs, many do so without approval
- in fact, I put up some fake signs of my own without approval. they were advertising voter registration, and had no "Approved" stamp, that signs are supposed to have. one stayed up for 4 days(far longer than any of my Free PHS ones), and one stayed up for a week(and was only taken down after I posted a Free PHS one right next to it, that described how the sign was fake)

the point is, they are censoring not based on vulgarity, or on whether signs are approved, but only on the message in the signs. that is illegal.

[ Parent ]
Re: This story seems pretty insightful ... (none / 0) (#44)
by inspire on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 01:14:44 PM EST

the point is, they are censoring not based on vulgarity, or on whether signs are approved, but only on the message in the signs. that is illegal.

No it isn't. If rusty decided to remove all anti-k5 articles and comments, he's perfectly entitled to do it. It would not reflect well on the integrity of the site, but it definitely is not illegal.

And if you do believe that its illegal, there are some rather obvious courses of action for you to take - I'm sure there will be lawyers willing to work for you pro bono if you go to the ALCU or something. Have the courage of your convictions, and sue the school. That's a sure-fire way to get people's attention.
--
What is the helix?
[ Parent ]

Re: This story seems pretty insightful ... (none / 0) (#49)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 01:33:12 PM EST

The difference, and I have discussed this on the site's message board, is that kuro5hin is private property, and the school is not.

What I said in the message board is that while you couldn't walk into Wegmans(a local grocery store) and hold a rally, you certainly could go to the local park and hold one. The First Amendment applies to the government, not private organizations.

Anyway, I don't think the ACLU would be interested in going to court unless the school had punished me in some way. As long as they are censoring and nothing more, it's not a big enough deal to warrant their attention.

[ Parent ]
Re: This story seems pretty insightful ... (none / 0) (#51)
by inspire on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 01:49:09 PM EST

The school is public property?

So I assume I (as a non-enrolled student) can walk into a school whenever I want, and just sit down in a classroom?

Or could I just walk into the principal's office, and start going through their stuff, because technically the desk is public property? And who do you think pays for the stationery there - I suppose I could walk in and use the public staper whenever I wanted to.

There is a difference between a public space and a government building - and being taxpayer funded does not automatically mean it's a public utility.
--
What is the helix?
[ Parent ]

Re: This story seems pretty insightful ... (none / 0) (#72)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 08:53:36 PM EST

Well, no. I don't know what the laws would say there(probably that you couldn't just walk in), but that's not what I'm talking about(anyway, you wouldn't be allowed to walk into a public park and take one of their pine trees for Christmas either).

Court decisions have upheld students' right to distribute material in school. Do you disagree with that statement?

[ Parent ]
Re: This story seems pretty insightful ... (none / 0) (#77)
by inspire on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 09:57:44 AM EST

Court decisions have upheld students' right to distribute material in school. Do you disagree with that statement?

No. However there is a distinction between distributing material such as newspapers, and posting signs on the school property. Just because something is politically motivated does not grant you a license to post it wherever you want.
--
What is the helix?
[ Parent ]

It's time we begin to recognize tha... (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by Inferno on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 08:15:26 PM EST

Inferno voted 1 on this story.

It's time we begin to recognize that minors are people too, and deserve to be treated as such. If we, by law, have to be in school, school should be a place where constitutional rights are respected.

Very interesting and your site is q... (4.00 / 4) (#4)
by Skippy on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 08:43:33 PM EST

Skippy voted 1 on this story.

Very interesting and your site is quite good. I do think, however, that perhaps a little tact would go a long way towards getting the answers you seem to seek. Regardless of whether or not Dr. Kissel is indeed a "bitch", it is rather impolitic to say so.

I also think you would have had better luck proselytizing the students and establishing a power base first. Its easy to ignore one student, but much harder to ingore many. Your arguments are good, your complaints valid, and you seem to have a good grasp of rhetoric (minus the aforementioned tact part) and I think you would have done much better to coordinate students.

My final suggestion is that you should attend the school board meetings (assuming there is a school board). Once again, your valid complaints and excellent speaking skills could do much more there than attempting to deal with Dr. Kissel directly. Furthermore, you can attend the school board meetings as a citizen. Your voice as a student will apparently end soon, but your voice as a citizen need not. Put the lever in the RIGHT place and you'll be amazed at the leverage you get.

I understand your frustration but don't give up on the kids in your school. Many just don't understand the implications of your questions but that doesn't mean that they can't. They may currently be subjected to egregious violations of their constitutional rights and not mind, but that doesn't make it ok.

Damn, that was a big cut and paste :-)
# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #

I'd like to see what happens if... (none / 0) (#31)
by marlowe on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 10:24:05 AM EST

Skippy attends a school board meeting. Maybe a followup article?

Actually, I wonder what would have happened if he'd done this much earlier in the process. Would it have made a difference, or not? Sadly, it's too late to sample that particular data point.

If the school board is conciliatory at this point, it could be because they're just reasonable people. Or it could be that they're knuckling under to Skippy's determination and resourcefulness. There's no way to tell now.

For that matter, I'd like to see the viewpoint of other students at thos school. That way we don't have to take Skippy at his word.

--- I will insist on my right to question ---
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
Re: Very interesting and your site is q... (none / 0) (#36)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:21:27 PM EST

ahh, tact. Well, I'd have to agree with you, I don't have much of that. In my defense, I may have been more tactful three months ago when I started the site. at this point, I've pretty much run out :)

[ Parent ]
Re: Very interesting and your site is q... (none / 0) (#52)
by inspire on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 01:56:25 PM EST

However frustrating it may be, one of the first rules of communication and debate is to always remain calm.

People will respect the opinion of a person who puts forward his points in a calm, ordered and understandable manner.

People will dismiss as loony people who start name-calling and swearing (kuro5hin readers seem to be particularly fond of the term ad hominem argument).

Imagine how many people would take the FSF, GNU and Open Source Software in general if RMS started frothing at the mouth and said stuff like "gee, Microsoft are a bunch of capitalistic fucks, arent they?"
--
What is the helix?
[ Parent ]

Re: Very interesting and your site is q... (none / 0) (#58)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 03:10:18 PM EST

Well, what I'll say is that while my site may lack tact, I did not when confronting the principal in person. I asked my questions in a reasonable and calm manner, and did not cast blame on her.

Even the other students at the meeting who didn't appreciate me asking the questions admit that the reason they didn't is because they knew she'd blow up - but that I wasn't being unfair to her.

I remained calm throughout, she lost her cool and got very defensive.

[ Parent ]
"- they have installed surveillance... (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by feline on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 08:47:56 PM EST

feline voted 1 on this story.

"- they have installed surveillance cameras, ostensibly for our safety, even when a student's chance of being killed in school is 1/2,000,000"

They installed them at my public-highschool to prevent durg use and vandelism, I think that when they installed them (around '96, iirc) there was little concern about students being killed in school

"they have conducted locked-in-the-classroom drug dog searches, which, while legal, I find incredibly offensive"

Gosh, that seems harsh, they merely search the lockers of students that they think is a possible 'threat' without asking or even telling us that they did it.
------------------------------------------

'Hello sir, you don't look like someone who satisfies his wife.'

-1, I think this is more of a rant.... (2.00 / 1) (#3)
by Inoshiro on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 08:48:35 PM EST

Inoshiro voted 0 on this story.

-1, I think this is more of a rant.
+1, I need to say that putting up a sign on private property (the schools are only public funded) and having them torn down is not the same as censorship.
I'm tempted to further -1 this because of the "tacked on" writeup change vs. something better (like a total rewrite, which this piece needs), as well as the incorrect story icon.

--
[ イノシロ ]

Re: -1, I think this is more of a rant.... (none / 0) (#79)
by DavidTC on Wed Jun 14, 2000 at 01:18:05 PM EST

Actually, schools are, at least in America, owned 100% by the state government. Saying they are 'only public funded' is just plan wrong. They are just as much a part of the state government as your local DMV.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]
This time around it's even better t... (4.00 / 3) (#8)
by fluffy grue on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 09:23:51 PM EST

fluffy grue voted 1 on this story.

This time around it's even better than the last time. Let me copy my comment from last time...:

I'm glad I got out of high school when I did. I just BARELY got the leading edge of this Orwellian nightmare... the year after I left, they started phasing out the ability for students to eat lunch off-campus, and then they decided to get rid of the lockers because of the POTENTIAL ability to store illicit materials in them (mind you, they didn't actually FIND any to provoke this)... the only good that's happened to my high school since I've left is they've gone to a college-like block scheduling program, which is still a mixed blessing - it's nice to have a full two hours at a time for chemistry lab or programming classes, but two hours at a time of history class is HELL.

My brother (who graduated from that same high school this year) managed to break out of it for the most part by taking MAJOR advantage of a program they have with the local community college (basically, he was allowed to take college-level courses for both high school and college credit), and so he was able to escape from quite a bit of the crap and get out of a lot of the early crap for college at the same time, but most students aren't even aware of this program. Also, like at many other high schools, all students are required to wear ID badges at all times while on campus, and a geek making an offhanded comment about killing someone is taken far more seriously than the geek getting pounded in by bullies causing that comment to begin with.

I'm glad I got out when I did, and I feel truly sorry for the kids who are in there now. So what you suggest, crayz, seems like a Good Idea to me.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Talk about reinforcing the wrong behavior. (4.00 / 1) (#54)
by marlowe on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 02:12:58 PM EST

"a geek making an offhanded comment about killing someone is taken far more seriously than the geek getting pounded in by bullies causing that comment to begin with."

Want some attention? Want to be taken seriously? Make offhanded comments.

Make a bomb threat or two, and you'll finally get some respect.

--- I will insist on my right to question ---
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
Well, it's definitely culture and t... (3.00 / 1) (#2)
by rongen on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 09:30:01 PM EST

rongen voted 1 on this story.

Well, it's definitely culture and technology. I agree that websites are great places to present a viewpoint. Do you think that there will be discussion between yourself and the school administration on the message board? Sometimes sites like this are places for like minded people to hang out agreeing with each other... The trick is to ensure that this does not happen at the expense of productive discussion geared towards resolving problems (the ones that made you want to start this site in the first place). Yes I am a know-it-all... One question, will you be handing the website over to someone else when you graduate? Could be a neat, and useful, legacy to leave behind at your school...
read/write http://www.prosebush.com

Re: Well, it's definitely culture and t... (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:18:08 PM EST

Answers:

for three months, no teachers or administrators have posted messages. a couple parents have. I have now sent a letter to the newspaper. the principal will respond, and it may encourage message board discussion. only time will tell.

and yes, if I can find someone, I'll hand over control of the site to another student and the end of this year.

[ Parent ]
Don't worry, college will free your... (2.00 / 1) (#10)
by Neuromancer on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 09:49:05 PM EST

Neuromancer voted -1 on this story.

Don't worry, college will free your mind man. Far Out.

I voted +1, I'll do it again ;-) ... (3.00 / 1) (#28)
by nuntius on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 09:50:34 PM EST

nuntius voted 1 on this story.

I voted +1, I'll do it again ;-)

That said, I'll just restate that school media outlets--even official ones can be very healthy for students to set up and run. What better way to create a real website for high-schoolers to admin?

The administration here at my "dry" campus would have died if my poll for 'Why I came back to school?' (which had a popular order of 1='Video games', 2='Beer', 3='Girls', and 4='Study?') was on an "official" site. Too bad. Our hall's site isn't 'official.'

While you shouldn't confuse your sc... (4.00 / 1) (#6)
by kmself on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 10:58:46 PM EST

kmself voted -1 on this story.

While you shouldn't confuse your schooling with your education, you should also get clear on the distinction between a rant and an article.

What I'd strongly recommend to the author is that he (I presume) find one or two people to help craft this into a compelling submission. I don't think he's going to pull it off on his own.

On a slightly different topic, this is the sort of mechanism I would like "edit submissions" functionality to have -- vote comes in as "edit", author withdraws submission, it goes to a bonepile, revised copy comes back up with a reference to the original copy.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.

This person is merely ticked off be... (2.00 / 3) (#12)
by End on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 10:59:52 PM EST

End voted -1 on this story.

This person is merely ticked off because he put up some rather childish signs around school insulting the administrators' intelligence, and (surprise!) they were taken down. Grow up and cheer up. Concentrate on your education, be diligent, and you may be worth something when you come out the other end.

-JD

Interesting. The school system is e... (2.00 / 1) (#22)
by Qtmstr on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 11:28:48 PM EST

Qtmstr voted 1 on this story.

Interesting. The school system is evil, government institution to turn people into herd animals. Tenure encourages incompetent teachers.


Kuro5hin delenda est!

Wow, another kid who thinks schools... (1.50 / 2) (#14)
by StatGrape on Sun Jun 11, 2000 at 11:50:02 PM EST

StatGrape voted -1 on this story.

Wow, another kid who thinks schools are supposed to be a democracy. No thanks.

NerdPerfect

ITs happening at alot of urban/subu... (3.00 / 1) (#29)
by starvo on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:24:58 AM EST

starvo voted -1 on this story.

ITs happening at alot of urban/suburban schools... Its not some huge travesty, it's parents and teachers flipping out.. Just wait, 5 years, and non of this will be going on anymore.
=---------------------------------- -My views are mine, -and not that of my employer -unBOLT the email addry to mail me =----------------------------------

Re: ITs happening at alot of urban/subu... (none / 0) (#34)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:15:44 PM EST

I doubt this is true. Once metal detectors and security cameras are in place, do you think they're just going to be thrown away. The public's perception of violence in schools is already far, far out of whack with reality. I see no reason for that to change, especially if we continue to have one or two shootings per year.

Many people continue to think flying is more dangerous than driving, even though statistics show that it clearly isn't. Why? Because all you need is one or two plane crashes/year, and people think planes are flying death machines.

[ Parent ]
Re: ITs happening at alot of urban/subu... (none / 0) (#60)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 03:48:16 PM EST

Many people continue to think flying is more dangerous than driving, even though statistics show that it clearly isn't

I'd think that you'd be more likely to die in your average plane crash than in your average car crash.

[ Parent ]

Re: ITs happening at alot of urban/subu... (none / 0) (#66)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 04:34:48 PM EST

Let me put it this way: IIRC, your chances of dying in a plane crash are about 1/1-2 million. your chances of dying in a auto accident are 1/~35,000

[ Parent ]
Stop the education system from bein... (3.50 / 2) (#24)
by nevyn on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:33:08 AM EST

nevyn voted 1 on this story.

Stop the education system from being just a tool of conformity

strangely, I never grow tired of th... (1.50 / 2) (#23)
by reas0n on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:36:04 AM EST

reas0n voted 1 on this story.

strangely, I never grow tired of these discussions

Ok I'm being neutral on this... I t... (4.00 / 1) (#5)
by kraant on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:44:11 AM EST

kraant voted 0 on this story.

Ok I'm being neutral on this... I think the article has a lot of potential... but needs a little more work... try again making it sound less like a propaganda piece from WWII
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...

We've already had two "the state of... (4.00 / 1) (#11)
by inspire on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 02:36:22 AM EST

inspire voted -1 on this story.

We've already had two "the state of education sucks" articles in a short period - save this article, and repost it in a few months when you've cooled off, and we can all think of more constructive arguments that haven't been posted here before.
--
What is the helix?

A school discussion every other day... (1.00 / 1) (#25)
by HiQ on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 05:14:50 AM EST

HiQ voted -1 on this story.

A school discussion every other day? Aren't there better things to discuss?
How to make a sig
without having an idea
just made a HiQ

Its important to understand rights ... (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by w1ldb1ll on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 07:09:54 AM EST

w1ldb1ll voted 1 on this story.

Its important to understand rights early. Children are treated as if they have no rights unless they are conformists.

Re: Its important to understand rights ... (none / 0) (#80)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jun 16, 2000 at 10:50:01 AM EST

What are you talking about?

1. Children fundamentally have less rights than adults,
and that's the way it SHOULD be. Parents need to have
controls over their children.

2. Children can be as "non-conformist" as they want to be. It's when they start breaking legal and moral laws that problems start. You make it sound like "illegal" == "non-conformist" == "good".


[ Parent ]
While this certainly qualifies as c... (2.00 / 1) (#18)
by Rasputin on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 09:16:04 AM EST

Rasputin voted 0 on this story.

While this certainly qualifies as culture, I'm not sure how appropriate it is to the K5 crowd. If it makes it to the front page (and it's a rare story that doesn't ;), I'll comment then.
Even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat.

I voted to post this but is it real... (1.50 / 2) (#26)
by typo on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 09:17:29 AM EST

typo voted 1 on this story.

I voted to post this but is it really on topic? We are talking about "technology and culture, from the trenches"

Re: I voted to post this but is it real... (none / 0) (#40)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:43:46 PM EST

I agree that it is a little off topic. Mabey because it was an internet movement that is why it was felt that it was ready for the front page. I really feel that just because someone was angry at their schools admin (common) and they write about it on the internet (also common), that it should be newsworthy.
Sorry, I guess I should post some news myself before jumping on other peoples stories. Mabey thats what the real lesson is here.

[ Parent ]
Okay, time to rant. (3.80 / 8) (#32)
by inspire on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 11:26:35 AM EST

It amazes me to see (especially) Americans today continually fight over petty rights issues, whilst completely ignoring their responsibilities. You will find 2:1 people who will gladly shout, "Yes! We have the right to freedom of speech!" to people who wonder about the legal and ethical implications thereof.

If I went into university and started posting comparisons between the professors and Hitler around the place, I can reasonably expect the faculty to tear them down. Shouting "censorship" would be highly inappropriate, as I would be completely in the wrong, and would probably be up for slander or libel charges as well.

Even if I were somehow justified in my criticism, I've found that reasonable debate and working out a mutually acceptable compromise works far more often than shouting my head off on a webpage, which potentially damages credibility.

Your school has security cameras and drug dogs doing random searches. That sucks. But have you thought of _why_ the administration considered these measures? Your school board didnt one day go and think "hey, lets put cameras in schools just for the hell of it". The school board has some legitimate concerns about drug use and student safety on campus.

And instead of ranting about schools turning into a sort of Orwellian state, have you proposed positive steps to solve the fundamental problems within your school? Just saying "security cameras invade my privacy" is insufficient - you're only considering the symptoms of a much bigger problem.

If the late policy is a problem at your school, consider why they put it in place - obviously students who came in late would disrupt a class. Instead of saying 'the policy sucks', fix the problem with late students. That way the policy need not exist.

Problem solving is the name of the game - bitching about problems wont make them go away.

This should probably be part of a separate rant, but..

America is breeding a generation of spoiled children where everyone demands special treatment. You're too lazy to read or write? Thats okay, you can get welfare. You're too fat to fit in a movie theatre seat? Sue the fucking cinema. You didnt get the job you were hoping for? Sue the company claiming discrimination.

You people make me sick.
--
What is the helix?

Re: Okay, time to rant. (5.00 / 2) (#33)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:11:38 PM EST

First of all, some of what I have been demanding are reasons for why the cameras are there. I've also asked questions like: how many people are kept out of class because of the late policy, how many people are caught in drug dog searches. It is necessary to have this data to make judgements about whether these are good things. If the administration prevents us from getting this data, that is wrong too.

Also, there is no way to reasonably debate and discuss when the administrators won't even talk to you. I had to make this webpage to get anyone to even listen, and I've had to write a letter to the newspaper to get the principal to be concerned enough to respond to me.

And BTW, I have put up many signs, some of them probably extremely offensive, some saying nothing more than:

Free PHS
http://penfield.cjb.net

Those too are taken down. And I have proposed positive steps, like ways of communicating with students, ways to get a representative student organization, what to replace the late policy with, and what to buy with the money for security cameras.

And lastly, desiring freedom of speech is not a demand for special treatment, at least not in the United States.

[ Parent ]
Re: Okay, time to rant. (4.00 / 3) (#38)
by inspire on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:25:44 PM EST

Understand that I mean no offense to you personally, and I wish your project the best of luck.

However, have you considered alternate avenues to solve the problems at your school? Trying to negotiate with someone who is unwilling to listen is very frustrating (I experience this a lot trying to talk some sense into people regarding "alternative" medical treatments), but sometimes the direct approach is not the best.

Have you tried involving the parents of the students - if they saw the adverse effects the school's measures are having on their children, you can bet that they will raise all hell about it. Alternately consider your school's district board or the Department of Education, if you feel your case is justified.

Remember, as unfair and authoritive schools may seem now, they are instituted for your benefit ultimately, and you'll find that most teachers are sympathetic to the needs of students. It's not a enormous conspiracy to churn out drone factory workers, as much as some people will have you believe.

I hold to my belief that the "censorship" call was wrong though - but both parties were probably at fault here. If I were the school's administration I'd uphold the judgement to remove the posters, and introduce a policy for putting signs up at school (like what my university does). Being able to post signs up on your schools noticeboard is a privelege, not a right, and free speech does not extend that far.
--
What is the helix?
[ Parent ]

Re: Okay, time to rant. (none / 0) (#46)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 01:24:27 PM EST

If there was an enforced policy in place, I grant you that it might be a different issue. Prior review had been upheld in some court cases, denied in others. However, without an enforced policy in place, it is simply illegal censorship.

And my letter to the paper is my attempt to get parents involved. I didn't do this at first because I thought that there was hope that the administration would be willing to comprimise. They aren't, so maybe they will be if I start making a spectacle.

[ Parent ]
Re: Okay, time to rant. (4.50 / 2) (#39)
by inspire on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:41:16 PM EST

(this post is supposed to come after the first reply to your reply, if that makes any sense)

And lastly, desiring freedom of speech is not a demand for special treatment, at least not in the United States.

I take particular issue with the "freedom of speech" argument here. The old "freedom of the press is limited to those who own one" argument has been quite effectively knocked down through the virtual infinite range of transmission of the Internet. Your freedom of speech on the Internet seems to be unhindered. I also doubt that your freedom of speech in other forms has been severely limited either. You can walk into school, and express your viewpoints about the school's adminstration without anyone taking you away. You can even write to a newspaper expressing your displeasure.

However, "freedom of speech" is not a licence for "freedom to post your speech wherever you damn well want". I cannot walk into my university (which I've mentioned 3 times already) and start posting inflammatory material all over the 'faculty news' noticeboard.

Not every noticeboard or blank wall is meant to be a free and open place for the frank exchange of views - some places are controlled by certain people, and theres just nothing you can do about it.
--
What is the helix?
[ Parent ]

Re: Okay, time to rant. (none / 0) (#47)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 01:27:44 PM EST

Yes, and I understand that. But consider this:

I am in some cases putting unapproved signs right next to other people's unapproved signs. Only mine are taken down. Another thing I've been doing lately is sticking mailing labels with the site's address onto other people's signs. Those signs are then removed.

I'm not asking for any more right to speech than everyone else in our school has for their own topics. Why is it that a sign saying "Free Tibet" can be placed on a wall, but a sign saying "Free PHS" can't be put on the very same wall?

[ Parent ]
Re: Okay, time to rant. (4.00 / 1) (#50)
by inspire on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 01:34:58 PM EST

Two wrongs don't make a right. Just because one unapproved sign was removed whilst another remains doesnt mean that one sign has more legitimacy than another.

If you don't play by the rules of getting something approved before getting it posted on your school's bulletin boards, don't expect the school to play by the rules in consulting you before they remove those postings.
--
What is the helix?
[ Parent ]

Re: Okay, time to rant. (none / 0) (#57)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 03:05:09 PM EST

Let's put it this way: there are no rules about it in the student handbook, or on the official PHS web site. AFAIK, everyone but me is allowed to put up unapproved signs.

If the cops started arresting people for an offense that wasn't on the books, and they were only arresting certain people - say racial minorities, or hippies, or whatever, would that be wrong?

[ Parent ]
Re: Okay, time to rant. (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by Matthew Guenther on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 04:30:53 PM EST

Let's put it this way: there are no rules about it in the student handbook, or on the official PHS web site. AFAIK, everyone but me is allowed to put up unapproved signs.

Football rules: I own the football so I get to make the rules. They own the walls you want to post stuff on so they make the guidelines. Like inspire said, your right to freedom of speech is not being infringed... you can still say what you want on your own website or in a conversation or in many other places. Simply because you make them does not obligate the school to keep your posters up. As you say there are no guidelines, so what stays up or down is completely at their discretion.

MBG



[ Parent ]
Re: Okay, time to rant. (3.00 / 2) (#71)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 08:49:32 PM EST

Let me quote from the SPLC:

"Thus, school officials may impose what are called reasonable 'time, place and manner' restrictions on an underground newspaper1s distribution.16 These policies may not stifle a paper's freedom or deter or discriminate against its message but should instead be designed to 'promote the orderly administration of the school by preventing disruption.'"

Now think about this: other groups are allowed to put up signs whose only difference from mine is that they contain a different message. They are not censored. I am. That is the school discriminating against my message.

[ Parent ]
Re: Okay, time to rant. (1.00 / 1) (#74)
by FFFish on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 11:02:51 PM EST

You shit in your bed. Now sleep in it.



[ Parent ]
Re: Okay, time to rant. (none / 0) (#76)
by Matthew Guenther on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 12:50:50 AM EST

Now think about this: other groups are allowed to put up signs whose only difference from mine is that they contain a different message. They are not censored. I am. That is the school discriminating against my message.

So is it discrimination or censorship? How can it be censorship if you can still voice your opinion? They have simply chosen not to allow their walls to be a venue for your opinions. If I was stopped from spraying "crayz still has a lot to learn" on the side of a building (even a government one), it wouldn't be censorship either. The only thing you have is the unequal enforcement of the aforementioned policy (which seems to apply to newspapers in the specific, so it's applicability to posters is to me questionable), or "discrimination".

Discrimination is not inherintly wrong or illegal, people discriminate all the time (e.g. free software vs. proprietary). So the question is whether this particular case of discrimination is wrong or illegal. Wrong; maybe... Illegal; not likely. They aren't discriminating based on anything innate like gender, race, or a disability... and from the descriptions of your previous actions and the content of some of the posters they would likely be able to defend that decision in court.

MBG



[ Parent ]
Clueless (3.00 / 3) (#41)
by FFFish on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:53:49 PM EST

Look, kid, it's time to get a grip on reality. *YOUR* hostility is a LARGE part of the social problems you're upset about. There's truth in the old cliches "You get what you give" and "what goes around comes around." You're not taking a constructive, communicative approach to enacting change in your school. Your hissy fits over imagined offenses against you do nothing to favourably impress the people you're railing on against. I've taken a look at your website. You're out to fucking lunch. For instance, you're all hostile at the *WRONG* people. Your school administration has bugger all control over the things that are upsetting you the most. F'rinstance, the cameras. It's the school board that decided to put those in place, not your principal. The school board -- which is directed by elected representatives of the community, and especially representative of the parents of the students that are in your school. F'rinstance, the dogs. Again, the school principal did not unilaterally decide to bring dogs into the school. That was a school board decision. Yet here you are, taking it out on the wrong person and creating a climate of hostility and intolerance. Little wonder your posters are torn down: they've been hostile, and you're now considered to be an ignorant little prick that they can't wait to get rid of. Assholes of the world unite: we're gonna abuse the staff, beat down their morale, make them care less, create an atmosphere of mistrust and anger! Whoo-hoo, won't it be fun to be in school! Time to start taking responsibility for the choices you have made, kid. I sure hope you put your money where your mouth is, and get onto a school board.

Re: Scoop (none / 0) (#43)
by FFFish on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:55:05 PM EST

Gah. Blasted HTML formatted default... and lack of a "delete message" function!

[ Parent ]
Clueless (3.70 / 6) (#42)
by FFFish on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 12:53:59 PM EST

Look, kid, it's time to get a grip on reality.

*YOUR* hostility is a LARGE part of the social problems you're upset about.

There's truth in the old cliches "You get what you give" and "what goes around comes around."

You're not taking a constructive, communicative approach to enacting change in your school. Your hissy fits over imagined offenses against you do nothing to favourably impress the people you're railing on against.

I've taken a look at your website. You're out to fucking lunch.

For instance, you're all hostile at the *WRONG* people. Your school administration has bugger all control over the things that are upsetting you the most.

F'rinstance, the cameras. It's the school board that decided to put those in place, not your principal. The school board -- which is directed by elected representatives of the community, and especially representative of the parents of the students that are in your school.

F'rinstance, the dogs. Again, the school principal did not unilaterally decide to bring dogs into the school. That was a school board decision.

Yet here you are, taking it out on the wrong person and creating a climate of hostility and intolerance. Little wonder your posters are torn down: they've been hostile, and you're now considered to be an ignorant little prick that they can't wait to get rid of.

Assholes of the world unite: we're gonna abuse the staff, beat down their morale, make them care less, create an atmosphere of mistrust and anger! Whoo-hoo, won't it be fun to be in school!

Time to start taking responsibility for the choices you have made, kid.

I sure hope you put your money where your mouth is, and get onto a school board.

Re: Clueless (2.50 / 2) (#45)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 01:20:53 PM EST

Most of my complaints are about things that were taking place before my website was created. So my site had no effect on those things.

And while some of the decisions, especially the cameras, were school board decsisions, that doesn't mean the principal isn't allowed to tell us anything about them.

Also, I doubt the school board decided everything about the dogs. If they had, students in the school would've known when the dogs were coming in.

[ Parent ]
Re: Clueless (4.00 / 2) (#59)
by FFFish on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 03:27:54 PM EST

I never implied that your website predates your complaints. I merely mentioned that I'd visited your website, to assure you that I was not basing my commentary on your K5 article alone.

Again, you refuse to accept your part in this: to wit, that your confrontational approach is the cause of most of your problems.

If you had approached the principal as a peer, not a foe, you would have had a better chance of finding out more about the cameras and dogs. Heck, you might even have learned that your principal herself disagrees with the cameras, had them shoved down her throat by a bunch of pinheads at the school board, and hasn't been told why they're there.

But, you see, you didn't take that approach. You got all confrontational, and that resulted in your being dismissed as a troublemaker who's just out for a fight, not a solution.

And let's think about this a little deeper: if the cameras really are security cameras, why in god's name would you expect anyone to tell you the security protocol? It would render them useless. I mean, really, give your head a shake. You're just picking a fight for the sake of picking a fight at that point!

And the late policy. What you want is to be excused for your own lack of personal responsibility. You don't feel there should be consequences for your actions!

Sorry, but life generally doesn't work that way. When payment is due on your credit card, you can't submit payment at 12:01AM and sleaze out of the late payment penalty with some lame excuse of "oh, hey, I was only a minute late!"

And then you have the audacity to whinge on about how traffic jams and walking to class can make you late! Well TOUGH SHIT! Haul your sorry ass out of bed ten minutes earlier and PLAN for the traffic.

The side doors of the school are locked. You want them open. Yet have you approached the administration non-confrontationally to learn why they're locked? I'll wager that there were problems with the public coming into the school (a significant security risk), with noise affecting neighbouring classrooms, or janitorial problems.

But of course, you won't know, because you won't approach the problem sensibly.

You're upset with jokes on the PA system. Boy, that IS an issue! Isn't this just a clear indication that you are a self-absorbed prick who expects the world to revolve around your whims and desires?

The bottom line is this: you have behaved poorly, are not truly interested in opening the lines of communication, refuse to take responsibility for your choices and generally have your head up your ass.

You reap what you sow. Heck, the very tone and content of my response is a direct consequence of the choices you've made: if you'd been a reasonable, ernest and sensible fellow who'd made appropriate choices in attempting to change his school, I'd have responded compassionately, constructively and supportively!

The good news is that poor communication, hostility toward authority and poor life choices are all part of being a teenager.

You'll eventually grow out of it. With any luck, you'll do it without life having to clock you upside the head 'cause you didn't take a clue.


[ Parent ]
Re: Clueless (none / 0) (#63)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 04:26:15 PM EST

Look, I realize that the way I write on the site isn't exactly construtive, but based on experience and reports from others, I had no reason to believe that being constructive would've help a bit.

What's more, at the meeting I had with the principal, I was asking questions without attacking her or mocking her, and she lost her temper because she didn't want to talk about it. Does that strike you as someone who is open to constructive criticism. Really, if you haven't already, read the news item from about two days ago, and the message board posts about the meeting. The principal is simply not willing to listen.

Also, you are not accurately representing what I've said about the late policy. I state explicitly that I recommend that students be punished after being late a few times. My problem with the late policy is that it defeats it's own purpose. If the purpose is to keep kids in class, then why send kids out of class? I recommend after-school detention, which would punish students, but not prevent them from learning. The other problem I have is that it was basically mandated that all teachers follow it, even though it makes no sense for some classes.

Also, my other, smaller criticisms aren't meant to be that important. Many people in our school hate the announcements, so I thought I'd comment. The site doesn't need to focus only on grave injustices.

[ Parent ]
Re: Clueless (none / 0) (#65)
by FFFish on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 04:33:03 PM EST

"I had no reason to believe that being constructive would've help a bit."

That, I think, neatly summarizes my point: you want to fight, not create solutions.


[ Parent ]
Re: Clueless (none / 0) (#69)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 08:41:12 PM EST

No, that's not true. But what I realized is that the people holding power, the ones who must make these changes, are not going to be persuaded by the voice of a single student.

[ Parent ]
Re: Clueless (none / 0) (#70)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 08:41:16 PM EST

No, that's not true. But what I realized is that the people holding power, the ones who must make these changes, are not going to be persuaded by the voice of a single student.

[ Parent ]
Re: Clueless (none / 0) (#78)
by inspire on Tue Jun 13, 2000 at 10:06:41 AM EST

I find it interesting that you attack the installation of security cameras at the school on the basis of cost, and that the money could be spent elsewhere.

Asking whether the cameras have actually caught anyone doing drugs at your school, or whether the dogs have caught anyone, is irrelevant. The fact is, the cost of such measures is trivial in comparison to what the school could be liable for, if a student came to some harm at school because they were inadequately supervised.

If it comes to light that the school could've installed a $5000 (arbitrary figure) camera and prevented someone from dying of an overdose on school grounds, this could reasonably be construed as a breach of the duty of care by the school. Whether the school could afford it or not at the time does not come into play - look at workplace regulations that say that employers must provide the safest working environment that they can.

I asked on kuro5hin earlier about a mysterious term I had come across in my reading and that had cropped up in a comment - CYA. Cover Your Assets and dodging lawsuits seems to be ingrained into the American psyche.

Welcome to the United States of Litigation. Bah.
--
What is the helix?
[ Parent ]

Hey, cut the kid a little slack. (4.00 / 1) (#61)
by marlowe on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 03:55:05 PM EST

He's fresh out of twelve years of hell in lieu of an education. He hasn't handled this quite flawlessly. But how was he supposed to know better?

And the public schools really do suck. And blaming the victim doesn't help.

Besides, he's actually trying to do something about it. Maybe not the right thing, but something. And that's a start.

--- I will insist on my right to question ---
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
sounds like defamation to me (3.00 / 3) (#48)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 01:29:50 PM EST

I'm sure that this teacher could prove in court that she is not, in fact, a female dog, and could claim perceived damage to her reputation.

I mean ... 2 weeks till you're leaving the damn place and you're really bitter - that's Not Good, dude. Get a better hobby than putting up offensive signs.

I agree that the drug sniffing dogs are well out of order (partly because dogs actually give me panic/asthma attacks), but your efforts just look pathetic and immature - and that's hardly going to make the 'adults' listen to you.

Hopefully university will be a nice change for you. It was for me.

How did we get here? And how can I help? (2.50 / 2) (#53)
by avdi on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 02:07:41 PM EST

First of all, a note: the following is not a troll. It may appear to be a stupid, provocative question; but it's an honest request for information. I ask it out of ignorance and the fact that I'm too lazy to look up the answer myself.

In short, what's the point of the public education system?

Would someone who has some knowledge of the history and evolution of the american public education institution please fill me in? I know that it's a relatively recent invention, but I know very little about how it came about and developed to the prominence it has today.

If the question seems rediculous, please take into account my background: I have been homeschooled all my life. I haven't had a single day's education in a public school. I have never paid a great deal of attention to them, which is why I'm so in the dark. Right now I'm 19. I'm working as a software engineer and making more than most of the people I know who are twice my age. I've been working in the computer field since 16. I've been listening all my life, with some incredulity, to the tales of school life from my friends in the school system. I've watched very intelligent kids graduate and have to take fast-food jobs because they have no marketable skills. More recently, I've read articles such as this, denouncing an apparently ever-degrading system. And it just makes me wonder, how did this come about? Any students of history here care to enlighten me?

And more importantly, as someone with no familiarity with the system, how can I help? It's very easy for me to take an elitist position and just say "look how much worse the public schools do compared to home schooling". But I'm aware that home schooling, or private schooling, simply isn't an option for most students at this time. But I am moved by the stories of repression and humiliation I read on forums like this and /., and I'd like to help change things. How can I, and others who have not been or are no longer under the thumb of the school system, help make things better for those who haven't made it out yet?

P.S. Lest I appear too bleeding-heart, yes, I know there are two sides to every story. I know there are some very good people working in the schools, who work with the student's best interests in mindffor pathetic salaries. Nonetheless, sites like this indicate that there is a problem.

--
Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir

Not trolling, eh? (none / 0) (#55)
by marlowe on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 02:14:41 PM EST

Okay, whatever.

--- I will insist on my right to question ---
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
Re: Not trolling, eh? (none / 0) (#56)
by avdi on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 02:38:12 PM EST

Well okay, maybe a little ;-)

Rereading that, it has a snottier tone then I intended. But I still think they're valid questions.

--
Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir
[ Parent ]

Re: How did we get here? And how can I help? (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by FFFish on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 04:25:14 PM EST

I think the reason for schools is threefold: training workers, socializing the population and taking care of kids.

With the industrial revolution, we see a some social changes that required a solution. Factories required workers with some degree of literacy and technical ability, skills that were not available through home. The first schools were developed to create a working class.

In America during the Westward Ho! expansion, schools were a tool for creating a common society. They were primarily a means to unite the country by instilling a common value system. The prairie farmers were living a pre-industrial life, in many ways, and those children were useful workers on the farm: they certainly didn't need schooling to be effective farmers. The government, on the other hand, needed its people to buy into the same master plan.

Finally, industrialisation has led to a situation in which children don't need to work. Modern schools are as much a taxpayer-funded daycare as they are a tool for social programming and a system for training workers.

Your family was able to take care of you at home; presumably your mother provided the daycare facility, a relatively rare and enviable position to be in these days. They also provided the bulk of your social programming: I'll wager you're either a little more liberal than most people, or much more religiously guided than most. And, too, they made a worker out of you -- and take note that your work area is a post-industrial one: the school system isn't set up to create software engineers.

In another posting of mine, I ranted about the lack of technical schools. Chances are, you'd have been well-served in a technical high school, if it were adequately funded and allowed you the freedom to not take courses that aren't particularly relevent to the working life you were aiming for. I think that's one of the bigger failings of the current system: it's too focused on JFK academics, and doesn't provide enough practical worker training.

Finally, take the "repression and humiliation" stories with a grain of salt. They're being written by the self-labelled "victims" themselves, with all the faults of their bias, immaturity, egocentricism and lack of life skills.

F'rinstance, I went to one of the worst high schools in my home town. There was a teacher selling digital watches (hey, it was the seventies; those were high technology!) for grade points; another was becoming an alcoholic; another may have been something of a pervert. A third of my graduating class didn't manage to make the grade, several of my grade twelve courses were repeats of grade eleven because so many of the students weren't up to speed, etcetera.

Despite these handicaps, a dozen or so of us went to post-secondary education, a couple were sports stars of minor repute, a bunch of the people that didn't go to post-secondary ended up in well-paying union jobs that made them richer than I hope to be, and only a few idiots managed to drink/drug/abuse themselves to death.

In the end, the school makes far less difference than your own self.


[ Parent ]
Now I can open up on this one (3.70 / 3) (#67)
by Rasputin on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 04:43:58 PM EST

First, I get exceedingly irritated when people whine about their rights being abused when they refuse to take responsibility for the actions that lead to the current situation. Judging by the tone of the article, web page and replies to comments, the approach has been overly aggressive and confrontational. In all honesty, I can't blame the school staff for responding as they have. Most people respond to aggressiveness with aggressiveness. In general, if someone approaches me saying "You're wrong, you're an idiot, you're violating my rights. I demand you tell me why you feel you can do this!" my most polite response will probably still include at least one rude gesture. If, on the other hand, that same person had approached me saying "I have some concerns about what I see happening. Please explain to me what you intend so that I can understand and tell me what I might be able to do to help." My response would be much more reasonable and would include an explanation of what and why. Same basic questions, different approach, different response.

Also, you would do well to consider that posting messages at school is a privelege, not a right. The School Board (and the staff as their representatives) retain the right to allow or not any message. Consider that since pictures of naked people in a magazine is covered by free speach, by your reasoning, the school could not remove such posters if someone put them up. Do you really see this as reasonable? The school staff would see this as offensive and subsequently remove them, even if they happened to be beside a poster advertising a *nix user group. The bottom line is that the school staff can remove any posters they find offensive, and because of your previous efforts, they now consider almost anything you put up offensive.

To take the drug dogs as another example, I find the prevalence of drug use far more offensive, but I saw no indication of a campaign to reduce drug use amongst the students. Just a complaint about an effort to remove the drug pushing vermine. Does this strike you as a balanced and reasonable approach?

I understand you have concerns, and they strike me as potentially reasonable. I'm not there so I really can't say. What I can say is that your approach seems almost intentionally designed to offend and promote an unreasonable response (yes rhetoric like yours has been used in the past to promote violence). Change the approach and there's a very good chance you'll change the response. Unfortunately, you've chosen the more common approach "attack now, whine about the results later".
Even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat.

Re: Now I can open up on this one (none / 0) (#68)
by crayz on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 08:37:02 PM EST

First of all, it would be a legally different matter if I was posting something vulgar/obscene. As long as I'm not, though, the school simply can't stop me any more than they can stop kids from wearing arm bands.

Also, I do not find drug use to be a problem. I don't use drugs, and the kids who do don't bother me. Why should I sacrifice my rights so that the kids who want to do something that doesn't hurt me at all can be hunted down.

I have a huge problem with the drug war in general. I don't think these drugs should be available for teens to use, but neither do I think that anything is gained by treating kids who smoke pot like criminals.

[ Parent ]
Use more tact (3.00 / 1) (#73)
by brotherhayashi on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 09:58:14 PM EST

This fall, I will be a junior in a public high school. I've been in "the system" for my entire life; I went to three different public elementary school and public middle school. I think that you are blowing your disagreement with school officials way out of proportion.

Students get out of school what they put into school. For the most part, I like my 2000-student high school. I enjoy the classes, the students, and, for the most part, the teachers. I differ in opinion with the administration about some elements of school policy and with the teachers in how some of their classes should be run, but I am able to communicate and discuss things rationally with them while respecting them. I respect them and I am able to change things.

Yes, I know that there is no point to metal detectors. Yes, I hate getting up early to go to school. Yes, my school is overcrowded and underfunded. Yes, the new hall pass system is utterly ridiculous. These are facts of life. The education that I am getting out of high school outweighs the "unconstitutional behavior" and Orwellian measures.

I agree with another poster who said that kids these days expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter. Quite honestly, I am growing tired of the present mentality that espouses individual liberty and emphasizes individual rights. The message this sends to kids is that if you don't like what happens, sue, and that it is always someone else's fault.

Then again, maybe your situation is far worse than mine. I think they are more similar than you realize. Put it into perspective.



My final words... (3.00 / 2) (#75)
by FFFish on Mon Jun 12, 2000 at 11:10:41 PM EST

...I hope. I'm finding this thread is a bit like a traffic accident -- I don't want to look, but am strangely compelled to.

Crayz, my reading of the followups to your "article" seem to me to be telling you over and over and over again that:
a) You're wrong.
b) You've behaved poorly.
c) You reap what you sow.
d) You're wrong.

I would hope that at some point, these messages will get through to you.


Free my school | 80 comments (80 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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