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Minds Held Hostage
personals [ Thoughts ]
Student Expression

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by [lavacaloca ]

2003-12-13  |     | 

Does a student lose their constitutional rights once they walk through the school doors? Apparently high school students have little or no rights of expression or freedom of speech. Students, have the all the same indelible rights provided by the constitution as every other citizen. School is a place for exchanging ideas, and spreading information; consequently, the schools should provide all possible opportunities for students to discuss issues and to express their opinions on school policies, programs of studies, and areas of public concern. Such discussions should be carried on in an atmosphere of mutual respect, and all points of view must have equal opportunity to be voiced.
Freedom must have some limits, but it is hard to agree on what those limits are. We must make sure our rights are protected, but in doing so we must be careful not to infringe upon someone else’s rights. Regarding our school newspaper, the school administration is more concerned about its image and the way it is viewed by the public, rather than informing the student body about sexually transmitted diseases or about sex. These topics are both sensitive and controversial, and they are being censored. They expose a truth about our “sexed up” society, which our school would rather stay safely away from. Unfortunately, our school also censors issues dealing with sexual preferences, school vandalism, and school related issues.
There is an imaginary line that students do not dare cross. It is the line that censors our freedom of expression. You need the approval and or permission of a superior in order to be able to express yourself according to school policy and ideals. Students are made to feel that “speaking their minds” could result in being labeled a “trouble maker”. So, their responses are canned or what is expected of them to reply. The student must conform to school policy. It is awkward and confusing for many students to be expected to act like adults in some situations, and considered to be children in others. A student may exert his/her freedom of expression, but it must be within the boundaries set forth by the school. In the classroom a student is not allowed to discuss certain topics. For example, politics or any discussions challenging our religion are considered taboo.
We are expected to react and think according to school and church doctrine. Oftentimes, our answers are mechanical. Whenever we are asked, who is Jesus? We automatically say “the son of god who sacrificed his life for us.” Are we really feeling and thinking our reply? Our schools “golden rules” are holding our imaginations and our creativity hostage. School should be a breeding ground for creative thought and freedom of expression. Let my people go!

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