Conservative teen’s school club causes a ruccus.

A news article titled Young Conservative Is the Toast of Talk Radio from the LA Times made for some interesting reading during lunch today.

Seventeen year-old high school junior Tim Bueler, a self-described conservative, has created a bit of a headache for administrators of his school district with a Conservative Club he established for like-minded students. It seems some of the club’s publications have ruffled the feathers of some of the other students and members of the faculty at the school.

According to a timeline issued by the Cotati-Rohnert Park City School District, the controversy started Dec. 3 when the Conservative Club, which Bueler organized last fall, posted an inflammatory flier at the high school announcing the creation of a “Conservative Hotline,” where students could report examples of “un-American” comments by their teachers.

“Let’s take a stand against the liberal traitors who call themselves teachers,” proclaimed the flier, which had not been approved by the club’s faculty advisor as required under school rules.

On Dec. 12 Bueler inflamed matters by distributing a Conservative Club newsletter in which he wrote that “Liberals welcome every Muhammad, Jamul and Jose who wishes to leave his Third World state and come to America—mostly illegally—to rip off our health-care system, balkanize our language and destroy our political system.”

The statement was borrowed directly from the sayings and writings of nationally syndicated San Francisco radio host Michael Savage, whom Buehler credits for inspiration.

The club’s motto, “Protecting our Borders, Language and Culture,” is also a Savage slogan.

The resulting political turmoil—which angered some of the school’s Latino students and provoked a letter of protest from 40 school officials, including the nurse and Principal Carter—has tested the 1st Amendment tethers of this bedroom community about one hour’s drive north of San Francisco.

After several heated confrontations and complaints of “political harassment” filed by Bueler the outspoken teen has become the darling of conservative pundits and bloggers alike while the school district has gone as far as to ensure that an adult guard escorts Bueler from class to class during the day and out to his father’s car once school lets out. Principle Carter has received thousands of emails including the inevitable hate mail and the beleaguered school superintendent has even sent lawyers to the school to discuss First Amendment law. Naturally, Bueler himself is happy to be the center of so much attention, particularly from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura Schlessinger though he gushes that his favorite pundit is Michael Savage:

“I’m missing it right now. I’m getting depressed,” Bueler said, breaking into a broad smile. “It’s almost like a drug to me. I have to listen to him.” Bueler does not agree with everything Savage says. He does not condone, for example, Savage calling a gay caller a “sodomite” and telling him to “get AIDS and die”—a statement that caused the cancellation of his short-lived Saturday afternoon talk show on MSNBC. It’s just that for Bueler, a news junkie who reads the online versions of the Washington Times and New York Times every morning as well as several conservative-view websites, Savage is “the voice of reason. He’s my hero.”

Learning that a reporter had met Savage, a former homeopathic medicine and folk-remedy expert whose real name is Michael A. Weiner, Bueler asked excitedly: “Is he the most intelligent man you’ve ever met?”

Therein, I think, lies part of the problem. Bueler is obviously modeling his activism on the style used by Savage which is, in the kindest terms I can think of, “confrontational” at best. Personally, I find it hard to listen to Savage Nation for very long as it’s largely full of venom and hate. The most telling comment I can make is that Michael Savage actually makes me appreciate people like Rush Limbaugh and that’s a feat I once considered impossible. The point being that it’s a style that isn’t very useful for winning new converts to your point of view, but then it was never meant to be. It was meant to generate ratings and that it does.

The problem with this situation is the simple fact that Bueler’s antics and the resulting attention they’ve gained him has disrupted the educational process and put undue burden on the school district. The courts have ruled in the past that a student’s first amendment rights are to be respected as long as they don’t interfere with the day to day school functions. When they do, the schools are allowed to curtail a student’s free speech in the interest of providing an education.

The outside attention by big name conservatives, however, pretty much ensures two things will happen. First, that Bueler will be encouraged to continue in the same vein and secondly, that the school district continues to bend over backwards to accommodate him.

Regardless of whether you agree with Bueler’s views or not, the real tragedy here is the missed opportunity to teach these kids about what having “freedom of speech” is all about as well as what differentiates a reasoned debate from simple jingoism. Instead the lesson being taught, particularly to Bueler, is that if you express yourself in the most inflammatory way possible you’ll win the attention of like-minded celebrities who’ll exert enough pressure to ensure you can get away with the trouble you’re causing.

9 thoughts on “Conservative teen’s school club causes a ruccus.

  1. It’s too bad the young fellow holds up his uneducated views for all the worl to see, but I suppose it is his little right. (Eric’s word ‘dillhole’ comes to mind!) 
    Idealy, He should be participaitng in serious debate with those who can successfully argue another viewpoint.  Someone withering, with a well informed sense of the topics at hand, not some ejaculating fan boy who practically swoons at attention from other selfish, intollerant hate spewers.
    There is a real opportunity for interesting, productive discussion about the political right and left positions right there in the school.  Beuler could make his points, and try to defend them in a safe classroom situation - and maybe even define for the group what it is he finds “unamerican”. 
    Chances are, he may have to concede that if he should be allowed to say whatever ka ka comes in to his head,then the same rights ought to be afforded to the “unamerican” comments of “liberal traitor” teachers.
    Honestly, does he think it’s cons & neo-cons that are responsible for the existance of the free speech he is entitled to??
    Yikes. 
    In all likelihood, the school will squander the opportunities for grown up discussion with the students over this issue, and that will be the real shame.

  2. I certainly agree fully with you on Savage.  I can listen to him about five minutes on the radio before my driving becomes so erratic I have to flip him off (so to speak) for anything else I can find.

    The Bueler case is indeed unfortunate, for a variety of reasons.  The guy is clearly an easily-influenced jerk, and his rhetoric is divisive in all the wrong ways.  The school administration has had a few missteps in their handling of him, but it would be, as you note, difficult for them to take much action now in the face of such attention (as opposed to any number of other cases where districts and schools take more oppressive actions, against a variety of out-of-the-mainstream causes and activities).

    The best hope is that (a) the guy graduates in a year and a half, taking with him the most inflammatory motivation of the club, or (b) the guy finds attention diminishing (especially after the summer break) and goes over the line.

  3. “it’s my drug.” “my inspiration”.
    He spews the words he hears, probably without knowing what they mean, or refusing to hear the other sides.
    There are too many parallels between this kid’s adoration of Savage, his actions and words (even though most of them aren’t his, but belong to Savage) and the way Neo-Nazi kids, cult members are recruited. Young, impressionable, most likely has low self esteem…

  4. I am wondering how much of the disruption to the school is caused by him, and how much of it is due to others responses to his unpopular statements. If there are threats to him, that isn’t his fault, but the fault of the ones making the threats. I agree that students free speach rights shouldn’t be allowed to disrupt the school, but in this case it sounds like the disruption is caused by the opposition to him. I was on the other side of the coin when I was a senior in high school, and we faced censorship by the administration, so I am extremely reluctant to censor any student opinions. You don’t fight this kind of person by threats or censorship, you fight it by others students using their own free speach to point out his narrow minded viewpoint. We did that and were actually able to get the administration to allow a representitive of Greenpeace to appear in the same way as military recruiters. If you fight hate with hate, hate wins.

  5. Michael Savage… yeah, that’s an asshole that kids should aspire to be when they grow up.

    I don’t care if he spouted the extreme left of Michael Moore… I think this kid needs to get his ass kicked. Seriously. It’s cruel, but better he learns it now that “Freedom of Speech” comes with consequences, especially if you’re going to be an intolerant jerkoff.

    Calling his teachers traitors??? Man, I remembered trying to stay very “low profile” in high school as people wanted to kick my ass just for being White.

  6. I like Savage.  He tells it like it is.  He truly cares about this country unlike the lying liberal media who run this area.  He always states “this is one man’s opinion.  The liberals lie and pretend its a fact.

  7. This kid needs to tone down the slurs in his talking if he expects to be more than an entertainer.  “Ni**er” to black people he’s never met, “Dyke” to short haired girls he’s never spoken with, “Jose” to latino Americans walking past him on the street.  Maybe American tax payers should buy him a bodyguard if he doesn’t know how to hold his tongue in obviously hostile situations.

  8. I am a member of the Republican Party and an elected official in LA county. I have met Tim on several occations and my uncle served on the board of Directors of the Minuteman Project with him.

    Tim Beuler is the worst piece of shit that ever drew breath. He is an antisemetic asshole that is so homophobic he must be gay. He has single handedly fucked up the Minuteman Project and if you look for it, you can still find the photo of him with his skinhead friends wearing “GOD HATES FAGS” T-shirt. You should mistrust any organization that would accept this cocksucker as a member.

  9. Regardless of whether you agree with Bueler’s views or not, the real tragedy here is the missed opportunity to teach these kids about…. what differentiates a reasoned debate from simple jingoism.

    On this point I agree completely.

    the missed opportunity to teach these kids about what having “freedom of speech” is all about What is “freedom of speech” all about, if not the right to all speakers the right to speak, even the stupid and the ignorant and the offensive?  I think this rings through loud and clear.

    …if you express yourself in the most inflammatory way possible you’ll win the attention of like-minded celebrities who’ll exert enough pressure to ensure you can get away with the trouble you’re causing.

    “Get away with”?  There is no getting away with anything.  Either the speech is protected speech or it is not.  If it was not, I assure you that the district would muzzle him to stop the circus.  In this case it obviously is, and the district has had to dispatch lawyers to teach its faculty accordingly.

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