Children Are To Be Seen and Not Heard?Tuesday, October 18, 2011 By Co-Editor Sydnie Holzfaster
I hate the old phrase “children are to be seen and not heard.” It was entirely unfair for adults to assume that because we’re young we have no idea what we’re talking abo ut and assume that we can’t form a sensible opinion. But does the school feel that their students should be silent? In 1969, at school in Des Moines,Iowa, a group of students wore black wristbands in a peaceful protest and were suspended for being not conforming to what the school believed was proper conduct, despite the fact that the protesters were quiet and no n- disruptive on campus. Shortly after the students suspensio n, the parents of one of the students filed a lawsuit against the school stating that the school was interfering with their daughter’s First Amendment Rights. It’s clearly stated in the first amendment , “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 of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government regardless or grievances.” This lawsuit later became the prominent case of Tinker vs. Des Moin es , a lawsuit that practically created the idea of student’s rights. It wasn’t right for the school to interfere with the students, because they were doing nothing wrong! I’m all for the school setting standards on things like skirt length or cell phone usage. However, when any school begins telling us not to have an opinion or that we do not have the right to say anything that contradicts the status quo , th at deeply offends me. The great thing about our county is that we don’t have to believe the same things as everyone else. Sc hools should be encouraging us to get informed and get involved in the things we are passionate about, not shoot down our ideas. I don’t think it is wrong for students to dye their hair, wear a wristban d, or write an article to demonstrate what they believe in. If children really are “the future ,” t hen why not let us form our own thoughts and express ourselves? What we have to say might surprise you.