Nat Hentoff has an OpEd on student privacy that will sound familiar to regular readers of this blog. In it, he describes the case of Andrea Hernandez, a student in Texas who refused to wear an RFID tag, and the strip search of J.C. Cox, a 10 year-old boy, to search for a missing $20 bill.
During the 2016 presidential and congressional elections, I doubt very much that candidates of either party — except maybe insistent libertarians — will raise the issue of how so many of our kids are taught that they are continually under criminal suspicion and surveillance in their schools — in this land of the free and home of the brave.
How many of our students are even taught the Constitution in their schools? How many of their parents bother to find out?
As someone who has watched the erosion of students’ rights over the past 20 years without frustration and outrage – the limitations on protected speech, drug searches and searches without reasonable suspicion, questioning of students without Miranda rights or right to involve a parent, monitoring of students’ extracurricular speech and conduct, and the creation of massive databases that record so many details of a student’s and parent’s information – I share his concerns.
There is a mechanism parents could use to organize to start restoring their children’s rights and civil liberties. It’s called the PTA (Parent-Teacher Association), and most schools have one. Why not start a national campaign on student privacy and rights? Bring in speakers, send home informative literature, and start educating parents and students.
Don’t count on the schools to teach your children their rights – or to respect them. That’s part of your job as a parent. If you sit back and let the schools, the state, and the federal government just erode your children’s rights, well, in 30 years, all the cool clothes and electronics you bought them won’t count for squat when you realize you’ve raised a nation of sheep.