I've blogged quite a few times now about my disdain for public schools, especially when it comes to the First Amendment. The more we define the Constitution as protecting certain rights and forbidding certain government action, the less it looks like what we'd expect from a school charter.
So here is another article that made me think, sheesh, how is a kid supposed to get through a day of school without committing some infraction or another, and how is an administrator to ensure order without having to employ a whole gaggle of First Amendment lawyers?
And then it hit me. Of course! The government isn't interested in education. Why would it go through all the lawsuits, all the misery, for what's ultimately turned out to be one of the world's most disappointing school systems. No, the government is training an unholy army of bureaucrats, a host of fresh recruits adept at navigating the morass of unwieldy government infrastructure and First Amendment protections where they don't belong!
This is one thing I dislike about conservatives. Take the Bong Hits for Jesus case. Conservative Justices like Roberts and Alito don't like drugs, so they find a place in the school-exceptions to the First Amendment to allow administrators to squelch student speech, even when it's off campus. I don't want drugs in schools, either. But the answer is not to allow the government to keep drugs out of school (which is not an enumerated governmental power) at the expense of free speech (which is a fundamental individual right). That's just enabling government to keep running schools. The Court shouldn't balk just because the government really really wants to do something. It needs to uphold the First Amendment no matter where the government decides to stick its nose. That's the only way that it can be reminded where it belongs in our constitutional framework.