Bush visits high school. Students threatened with expulsion if they express dissent.

Saw this over at the Daily Kos where a reader sent the following email:

A friend with a child in the Richland County, WI high school where George Bush appears today reports the following. Students were told they could not wear any pro-Kerry clothing or buttons or protest in any manner, at the risk of expulsion. After a parent inquired, an alternative activity will be provided, probably a movie being shown in an auditorium. (The school secretary reportedly said that students had the choice of just staying home if they didn’t want to attend the Bush rally, but the principal subsequently offered an alternative.)

Can you believe that? The school is basically telling these kids that if they so much as wear a pro-Kerry button in the presence of the President they’ll be kicked out of school for the rest of the year! Kos posted the following update later:

Rachel Schultz is the superintendent of Richland Center School District in Wisconsin (where students were told not to wear any Kerry regalia during Bush’s visit). Turns out Rachel is married to Dale Schultz, Republican candidate for Congress in the 3rd Congressional District in Wisconsin.

Kos’s readers which quick to dig up contact information for folks who wish to express their outrage over this:

Richland Center High School
23200 Hornet High Rd
Richland Center, WI 53581
Phone: (608) 647-6131

Here’s the principal:
John Cler
608-647-6131 x1590

Here’s the local superintendent of schools:
Rachel Schultz
608-647-6106

Here’s the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction:
1-800-441-4563

Here’s the state superintendent:
Elizabeth Burmaster
state.superintendent@dpi.state.wi.us

How anyone can think Bush will protect your civil rights when it’s clear he’s violating many of them on a regular basis while conducting his campaign is just beyond me. If Kerry were pulling crap like this the Republicans would have lynched him by now.

Link to Kos’s entry found via Electrolite.

21 thoughts on “Bush visits high school. Students threatened with expulsion if they express dissent.

  1. I think the principal’s voice mail is broken—it keeps breaking off when you try to leave a message.  I’ll bet it’s out of space … heh, heh, heh.

    You know, you’ve got to wonder what they think they’re teaching high schoolers with this sort of political chicanery.  Considering that they’re going to be of voting age when they graduate, who do you think they’re going to vote for in the next election?

  2. I don’t have kids, so I’m curious about the responses from those who do:

    If your son or daughter came home after being expelled for the year for holding up a “Bush Supresses Freedom of Speech” sign, what would your reaction be?

    Honestly, now. Think it through. You knew nothing about this, so the expulsion is a complete surprise to you. Remember the dollar cost of alternate schooling for the year, and possible court costs, etc.

    We’ll assume your kid’s opinion was real and they weren’t just “trying to be cool or obnoxious” in their actions.

    My first thought is “good for you!” and work with them to make a huge local media battle (and possibly, court battle) out of it. I just don’t know how far I’d realistically go.

    I’d love to hear from god fearing christians and avid Bush supporters, but that’s probably too much to ask. How different is the reaction if your childs well-thought-out oppinion is wildly different than your own.

  3. I can’t begin to tell you just how angry this makes me.  It is one thing for them to screen the audience for their little rallies, but quite another to threaten to expel kids for having a differing opinion and at a SCHOOL event.  It’s so nice to know how much this administration supports free speech.  I too would like to know why the “Liberal Media” doesn’t report on this crap.

  4. Frac—“I don’t have kids, so I’m curious about the responses from those who do:”

    I would spend a lot of money on ink cartridges, sending a letter and a copy of the documented expulsion to everyone with any kind of mouth and/or influence. I would most certainly seek legal representation and I am far from the suing type. I would make so much noise I would get on my own nerves.

    I have a straight A student in advanced honors classes, and to think, in The United States, a pin on her shirt in silent protest to the current President could ruin everything she is working for is scary. People looked at me as if I were nuts and paranoid when Bush took office and I said, “America is getting its first dictator.”

    Paranoid? I think not. Livid? At the moment, yes.

  5. How anyone can think Bush will protect your civil rights when it’s clear he’s violating many of them on a regular basis while conducting his campaign is just beyond me.

    While I’m onside with the post in general, the Devil’s Advocate in me would like to point out that it’s likely not a Bush campaign issue so much as an overly zealous school administration.  Quite often it’s the underlings who get carried away and lose focus on these things.

    It’s still hella retarded though.

  6. “…it’s likely not a Bush campaign issue so much as an overly zealous school administration.”

    It’s happening on Bush’s watch, and that makes him responsible in my opinion. I would be infinitely more impressed with a President who refused to let that happen.

    Aside from that:
    1. It is no secret that protestors are pushed away from Bush rally’s all the time.

    2. You can tell a lot about a leader by his/her followers. Would anyone else get nervous if a group of KKK members gathered near the White House lawn with “KKK for Bush” signs?

  7. [sarcasm] 
    You guys are completely missing the point!  Schools are supposed to educate, and prepare students for ‘real’ life. 

    How else are these kids supposed to learn that there is a huge gap between the language of American idealism, and the reality of a lifetime of scraping and servitude to those who are immensely wealthy and powerful?

    Y’all need to mind ya own beezwax, and let the schools do they jobz!

    [/sarcasm]

  8. If they are dissenting the president and exercising their legal rights then obviously they are over educated and need to be suspended from school.  We don’t want too many educated people walking the streets.

  9. How else are these kids supposed to learn that there is a huge gap between the language of American idealism, and the reality of a lifetime of scraping and servitude to those who are immensely wealthy and powerful?

    Right.  The kids have just spent 8 years + learning about American freedoms, only to discover it doesn’t mean a damn thing in a public institution.  I have three kids, and I’d do what Justice said – as the old saying goes, “Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrell.”  Or ink cartridges by the crate.

    Overzealous school admin?  Maybe, but throwing out Kerry supporters (or even Bush supporters who don’t look quite right) is SOP at Bush rallies.

  10. Not only am I not surprised by this, I’ve come to expect it. Thus far I’ve seen many posts by those who have been out of school long enough to lose touch with what it is really like. I graduated in the spring of 2003 and I remember exactly what it is like. The system is seriously flawed. I remember more than thirty students who graduated in my class who were reading on a fifth grade level, INCLUDING HONOR STUDENTS. This is accomplished of course by our definition of what makes an honor student and it has come to pass that those who do well are those who cheat well. I remember a highschool where any dissenting opinion is quelled and students are encourage to “fit in” by any means necessary. After all, students are not allowed to wear what they want, say what they want, nor do what they will while they are in highschool. I think its sad that no one is willing to stand up for the rights of students anymore and I think its a damn shame that as a student one is stripped of the basic rights afforded every citizen. Not to mention the fact that this is not only not uncommon, but encouraged and ignored by almost everyone.

  11. As a person with a child (not school age yet), if he got expelled for something like that I would raise such hell the school administration wouldn’t know what hit them.  I’d probably go broke in the process, but I’d be too angry to care.  And, if I were a student or a teacher at that school, I’d show up with a Kerry button/shirt/sign after that just because.

  12. Another reason to be glad my kids are not in American schools.

      I can’t afford to be complacent, though- not only do I still have friends and family stateside, but the U.S. does have a way of exporting its warped worldviews, one way or another.

      Not that Europe, or Austria, or even I myself are not warped.  Not at all!  But the gradual erosion of civil liberties, the willful blindness to reality, the messianic self-righteousness, are reminiscent of something that happened here starting about seventy years ago…

      I don’t take the parallels that seriously- the Republicans (or Neoconservatives, or whoever) are not Nazis. And I do have hope.  But it’s still a bit disquieting.

  13. Wow! If this is true it has got to be one of the most assinine pieces of twaddle I have been lucky enough to read this week! It’s as if they want to train the children young to conform or else. (but of COURSE that’s what they want…) Ugh.
    Nice blog, btw. smile

  14. lmao Les. 

    I really do wish Bush would hold a Rally somewhere within hitchhiking distance of my little town (I can’t drive yet).  I’d risk life and limb to go there by whatever means neccessary just TO protest, even though I’m nearly sure I’ll get shot at by ‘Pepper Pellets’ in the process.  I’d bear the pain just to get my shot at him.  (Not a literal shot, being able to voice my opinion, what with a literal shot being treasonous and all.  smile )

    I’m really not surprised.  Neodromos is exactly right about the schools; I’m still in them (senior year, seventeen).  It’s easy enough that I didn’t even go for the most part my first three years, but I’m gonna be able to finish all of it with top marks in one year.  Plus, this is standard procedue at Bush rallies.  All one needs to do is google ‘Jacksonville Oregon, Bush Rally’ to find that out.  That was pretty horendous too, the way he actually had his men instigate a riot.  Bastard.

  15. It’s as if they want to train the children young to conform or else.

    I got a lot of that in the 80’s when I was in school. 

    You get all the conform, conform, conform… then when you say “all my friends are doing it”, your parents hit you with the old “Well, if your friends all jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?!?” line.  Then they wonder what’s wrong with you.

    The whole self esteem thing makes me wonder if we’ll see a rise in road rage/workplace violence in the future as more kids go through school with their self esteem pampered. 

    Like Denis Leary said:
    “Life sucks. Get a helmet”

  16. What I want to know is why dont the liberals in the area all band together and send their kids to school with big Kerry shirts?  They cant suspend the whole damn school, or even half of it.
    Safety in numbers…

  17. i’m english so i whould not know very much about this, but en’t this ilegal or some thing. the 1st amendment…free speach or something like that?

  18. I found the following in this new site devoted to politics and media topics, which I wanted to share with the rest of you guys.  The author, apparently the editor of this site, was talking about the performance of American journalists:

      “The rise of (left) media watchdogs stems from the very gravity of the problems we face and the continued deterioration of mainstream media standards. Some argue that mergers and conglomeration, and the naked drive for profits, have ruined the profession and stifled diversity. There is a feeling of nostalgia for the good old days, when higher standards supposedly prevailed. While there is some merit to this argument, we better skip the tears. The media’s deplorable performance is nothing new. The list of misfires spans at least half a century or longer. The media dropped the ball with the Palmer Raids, with the Cold War, with Joe McCarthy, with the Korean and Vietnam adventures, with the Reagan canonization, with the criminal CIA shenanigans all over the world—from Greece to Iran to Guatemala, to Chile, to Nicaragua, to El Salvador, to Indonesia—to scores of other places we may never know. While busy mythologizing JFK, it stood helpless when, after decades of demonizing the Soviet Union, the Cuban missile crisis suddenly brought the world to the brink of annihilation. If the media had been doing its job the GOP would have long been relegated to the dustbin of history, where it belongs. Instead, it continues to win elections and conduct its noxious business in the name of the American nation. And if the media had been doing their job we’d probably have today a much more honest parliamentary system, universal health insurance, a different, far more egalitarian and stable economy, cheaper drugs, a sane, generous policy toward the environment, and, yeah, no Iraq war, no global warming, no Enrons, and, in all probability, no 9/11 in recent memory, either. Oh. And American democracy might not be in its deathbed. Need I go on?”/quote] The site’s name is Cyrano ( http://www.cjonline.org/about.htm ) It also carried a bunch of articles by Joe Bageant, published at SEB

  19. Simple, straightforward, nonpartisan political t-shirt.  Wear to school, do not expose until last moment.

    Impeach. Try. Convict. Execute.

    Not specifically anti-bush.  Not pro-kerry.  Just an accurate description of U.S. legal process.

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