WHITEHEAD: Turning public schools into forts
There’s a peril in the mindset of the police state, John W. Whitehead, Washington Times, July 29, 2013.
As surveillance cameras, metal detectors, police patrols, zero-tolerance policies, lockdowns, drug-sniffing dogs and strip searches become the norm in elementary, middle and high schools across the nation, America is on a fast track to raising up an Orwellian generation — one populated by compliant citizens accustomed to living in a police state and who march in lockstep to the dictates of the government. Yet as I point out in my book, "A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State," with every school police raid and overzealous punishment that is carried out in the name of school safety, the lesson being imparted is that Americans — especially young people — have no rights at all against the state or the police. Indeed, the majority of schools today have adopted an all-or-nothing lockdown mindset that leaves little room for freedom, individuality or due process.
Once upon a time in America, if you talked back to a teacher, or played a prank on a classmate, or just failed to do your homework, you might find yourself in detention or doing an extra writing assignment after school. Nowadays, students are not only punished for transgressions more minor than those — such as playing cops and robbers on the playground, bringing Legos to school, or having a food fight — but they are punished with suspension, expulsion and even arrest.
When high school senior Ashley Smithwick grabbed the wrong lunch sack — her father's — on the way to school, the star soccer player had no idea that her mistake would land her in a sea of legal troubles. Unbeknownst to Ashley, the lunchbox contained her father's paring knife, a 2-inch blade he uses to cut his apple during lunch. It was only when a school official searching through students' belongings found the diminutive knife, which administrators considered a "weapon," that Miss Smithwick realized what had happened and explained the mistake. Nevertheless, school officials referred Miss Smithwick to the police, who in turn charged her with a Class 1 misdemeanor for possessing a "sharp-pointed or edged instrument on educational property."
Read More: Washington Times