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Yet Another Reason…
February 1, 2004 — 4:00 pm

Here’s another reason my daughters will never see the inside of a public school:

Fla. Teen Suspended For Anti-Confederate Flag Petition

A Tarpon Springs High School student has been suspended for 10 days for circulating an unauthorized petition to ban Confederate flag symbols at the Pinellas County school.

About 100 of her fellow students signed the petition before 16-year-old junior Krista Abram was suspended Tuesday. A letter from the school blamed her for distributing “unauthorized material.”

“I definitely anticipated some kind of consequences for not getting the petition approved,” said Abram, who is biracial and sees the flag as a racist symbol. “But I think 10 days is harsh.”

Now, I’m not one to jump on the anti-confederate flag bandwagon. Honestly, I think both sides of the debate have some valid points. That’s beside the point. The point here is, any discussion of the issue was immediately and harshly squashed by the school system.

How are kids supposed to learn about the issues important to them if they are not allowed to talk about them? Wouldn’t these children have been better served if the petition were allowed to continue instead of being thrown out on the street for 10 days? Really, what message is this sending? Don’t talk about anything controversial. If you do, you will be punished. That’s one hell of a great life lesson there.

When I was in High School, we had a teacher who would challenge us daily on the issues. He would rail against seat belt laws and the intrusive nature of the state in general. Being the quasi socialist that I was, I thought he was crazy. But, I loved him. He gave us the opportunity to actually talk about these things. I didn’t change my political philosophy until much later but, the skills I learned in that class have stayed with me ever since.

I fear we are raising a generation of unthinking, fearful children. Can anyone really think of a worse combination?

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— Justin M. StoddardComments (0)

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