Protecting Students’ Rights


A superintendent threatens to suspend students protesting gun laws. But that’s not legal.

Curtis Rhodes, the superintendent of the school district in Needville, a small town southwest of Houston, wrote a letter to students and parents that was distributed Tuesday on the social media page for the town’s high school. It began with a reference to the protests around the country after a shooting in Parkland, Fla., left 17 people dead.

“Please be advised that the Needville ISD will not allow a student demonstration during school hours for any type of protest or awareness!!” Rhodes wrote. “Should students choose to do so, they will be suspended from school for 3 days and face all the consequences that come along with an out of school suspension. Life is all about choices and every choice has a consequence whether it be positive or negative. We will discipline no matter if it is one, fifty, or five hundred students involved.”

Rhodes — a registered Republican, according to public records — said parental notes would make no difference.

“Respect yourself,” Rhodes wrote, “and please understand that we are here for an education and not a political protest.” …

Constitutional scholars described Rhodes’s threats as a blatant violation of free-speech rights.

“It’s a quintessential First Amendment violation, and most Americans have an instinct about that,” Heidi Li Feldman, a professor at Georgetown Law, said in an interview. “What’s really weird about this is that they announced they will suspend people over the content of their off-campus protest. Content-based restrictions on speech are anathema to the First Amendment. So this looks like a total problem.” – From Gun protests: Texas school superintendent threatens to suspend …

Apparently this superintendent’s grasp of USA laws is shallow. Obviously she doesn’t know much about the longstanding First Amendment, which originated in 1789:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. – From First Amendment to the United States Constitution – Wikipedia


All that I can say about this superintendent is that she is very fortunate that I am not a child in one of her district’s schools and my parents behind me if I choose to protest in our district or in Washington, DC. Why? It is because one of my parents friends, a lawyer, would haul her off to court for violating my free speech rights. … Trust me: there would be no suspension for me from school if I went out and protested on the designated day of gun protests, March 14th.

My parents absolutely would not put up with any nonsense involving their children at school or outside of school:

When I was in seventh grade (aged thirteen), I had a masculine, muscled, unmarried, gym teacher. She liked to watch girls taking showers after gym class. She also liked keeping some girls after class to watch them exercise. They were the extremely pretty and most athletic ones.

However, this extra exercise made us sometimes late for our next class and if we were not in our seats when the buzzer rang across the school for the start of each new class, we’d get a disciplinary mark in a book by whatever teacher that we had after the gym class. (If you got three marks, you were in extreme trouble.)

After getting two marks by my English teacher after my gym class since I was held late by the gym teacher, I decided that I’d had enough since I had no intention of getting a third mark in the bad behavior book that my English teacher (and all teachers) had.

So I refused to stay late for my gym teacher for extra exercise. I told her, “No!”

The day after my refusal announcement, she accused me of chewing gum in class, asked me to open my mouth to show it (and there was none), had me bend over with my elbows on my knees and whacked my behind with a breadboard paddle really hard.

When I got home from school that day, my mother noticed that I had trouble sitting down in a chair, so she enquired as to the reason. So we went off to my bedroom and I showed her my bottom covered in black and blue marks and red raised welts. Then I explained the situation to her with the gym teacher.

At the time, my father was the vice president of a prestigious college and former dean of students at another prestigious college. My mother had taught graduate courses at another school in elementary education. So their credentials were solid, but even if they had not been so, they would have taken the same action.

Furious at my treatment, they set up a meeting with the Principal at my school — someone less educated than they in terms of credentials — and told him that no teacher is allowed to touch their children and if they do, a lawsuit would be brought. They also said that if any of us children had a disciplinary problem, my parents should be informed and it would be handled by them.

If they had not done that intervention, my gym teacher would probably still have tried to dominate me to do her bidding. I will NOT be bullied, spanked, nor controlled by someone of her ilk. My parents let this stance clearly be known and this teacher, having been informed by the school director to leave me alone or all hell would break loose, did just that. She left me alone thereafter.

Yes, teach children and adults to be empowered against predators and others, like school superintendents, who would illegally and wrongfully try to control them. We can stand up to them, including people at huge corporations like the NRA, if we choose to do so!

There comes a point that people can’t put up with any more wrongs from their schools or society in general. So thank goodness that many people supported the students across the USA in their day of gun protest on President’s Day!

Clooney, Winfrey, Spielberg offer $500,000 each for gun control march…clooney/clooney-winfrey-spielberg-offer-500000-each-for...

Feb 20, 2018 – Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney and Steven Spielberg said on Tuesday they would each donate $500000 to the “March for Our Lives” rally in … people from all over the country, and in the name of our children Ella and Alexander, we’re donating 500,000 dollars to help pay for this groundbreaking event.

The parents of students and the students, themselves, are rising up just as the farmers did in India, just as the Massachusetts anti-hate speech walkers did and just as many others around the world do individually and in groups. It is because we are fed up with the status quo and aim to change it by any legal, nonviolent means possible.


Thousands of students at the Capitol

After a while only so much oppression can be endured before the masses rise up in protest. How heartening!

<> on March 13, 2018 in Washington, DC.

7,000 pairs of shoes placed on Capitol lawn – CNN Video

7,000 empty pairs of shoes for every child killed by guns in the US since Sandy Hook [elementary school massacre – S.] cover the southeast lawn of U.S. Capitol Building on Tuesday, March 13, ...

Thank goodness that we can train our children to be as brave as are we adults! We can teach children to stand up for their rights and welfare, as well as the rights and welfare of others!

In front of the White House


Sally Dugman is a writer from MA, USA.


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