Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Even Dumbasses Have Freedom of Speech

A fifth grader in Aurora, CO, was suspended for wearing an anti-Obama shirt to school. The shirt was homemade and read, "Obama - a terrorist's best friend."

Students were asked to show their patriotism by wearing red, white and blue to school.

The boy's father, Dann Dalton, says the school made a major mistake suspending his son and his is threatening legal action against the school district.

According to the boy's father, Daxx was given the choice of changing his t-shirt, turning the shirt inside out, or being suspended. Daxx chose to be suspended.

Daxx's father is encouraging his son to stand up for what he believes in and claims that his son's rights were violated.

Aurora Public Schools refuses to discuss the case but the district says it "respects a students' right to free speech, such as the right to wear specific clothing," but administrators say they reserve the right to review any situation that disrupts the learning process.

The school district also claims that Daxx Dalton was not suspended for wearing the t-shirt, but for willful disobedience and defiance.

Hmmm . . . I'm guessing that this is the father's doing, not the kid's. And any 11-year-old son is going to want to make his father proud. There's no way in hell that kid makes that shirt on his own.

Should he have been suspended? No. Was he suspended because of what the shirt said? No. Ask school administrators around the country and they would have done the same thing. He could have changed shirts or turned it inside out (I'm guessing, again, that he was coached not to accept any of the options), but he refused.

The kid should not be punished for what the father coached him to do. It simply played into the father's attempt to create a media storm around his kid. He's a dumbass, but he has a right to speak his mind, even through his son.

As far as parenting skills, this is guy is a grade A dumbass -- hopefully he has no other kids to screw up.


Anonymous said...

I'm unclear why you'd say, "Should he have been suspended? No."

If the kid was in violation of a school dress code (for example banning political statements on clothing, which is quite possible in a school) and if he refused to abide by that dress code then the school would surely have little option but to send him home.

I think it's been clearly established in law that kids at school don't have unfettered free speech rights, which I think given the circumstances is not a bad thing. I'm not sure, for example, I'd want kids wearing tee shirts saying "Faggots are evil and will go to hell" and then insisting that they're only expressing their first amendment rights.

william harryman said...

You make a good point, and I'm a little torn.

I don't think "speech" like that should be allowed, especially in 5th grade. But on the other hand it seems so obvious that this is exactly what the father wanted. And he got his wish - I'm here in Tucson blogging about it, and I'm sure Sean Hannity and/or Bill O'Reilly will opine self-righteously in the near future.

Suspending the kid played into the father's trap. And to my mind, it's really unlikely the other kids had a clue what the shirt was about. This was aimed at the teachers.


Anonymous said...

There's a difference between free speech and hate speech/slander. Equating Obama with terrorists (when there's no real evidence of such a link) is pushing it.

And don't hold out too much hope that he's an only child. People like that always have a slew of kids so they can pass on their warped views. (I bet his other kids are named Davv, Dall, Daff, and Dazz. No?)

Anonymous said...

Hey, wh. Wouldn't the father have got his wish either way? Either the kid gets to wear the tee shirt and annoy all the "libtard" teachers, or he gets suspended and becomes a martyr. But I reckon that if he's suspended then the school at least is maintaining some standards for dress and communication in the school, and not setting a precedent for other kids to become walking political ads.

william harryman said...

If he were allowed to wear the shirt, it would have annoyed a handful of teachers (or less) in a conservative district.

By kicking him out of school, it became national news.

I guess I would have been willing to deal with the annoyance to avoid giving him a national platform on which to preach his ignorance.