Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Maryville School Board embraces censorship

SayUncle comments on a story regarding a dramatic change in school board policy in Maryville, Tennessee (just south of Knoxville and home of Lamar Alexander). The policy bans flags and other items from school events. It should be pointed out that Maryville High School's mascot is the Rebel, so local sources are (correctly) pointing out that the Confederate Flag was the actual source of the ban, even if the actual wording censors any action:

"associated with oppression, hate, or anything else that may cause other students, parents, visitors, constituents, school district employees, spectators, or any other individuals to feel uncomfortable based on race, color, creed, gender, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religious belief/non-belief... This includes verbal, non-verbal, and physical acts.''

Director of Schools Mike Dalton shows how PC he can be with this quote:

"As long as you've got kids and families offended by what we do, we have to be concerned about it. It may not be popular, but it's the right thing to do.''

Wrong on all counts, Mike. Rarely is censorship ever "the right thing to do" - especially in a school system that touts itself as broadening minds but really is in the business of stifling thought and creativity.

Free advice for the Maryville Board of Education - rethink this policy. I'll tell you right now - if you are challenged in court, you will not win. Actions like yours make young attorneys start to think of taking a case to challenge your rule that violates the First Amendment, because this is a chance to right a wrong, even on a pro bono basis. Looking at public remarks made by members of your board and previous drafts of the policy, you have no shot of winning this potential case. All that you will accomplish is embarrassing Maryville and wasting taxpayer dollars in the defense of censorship, and I doubt that anyone wants that.

Hmmm. Maybe they could reconsider the school team name.

How about the Unreconstructed Confederates? I haven't worked out the details for the flag - maybe one of the 95% non-slave owner's houses smoldering in ashes with "honest Abe" smiling in approval?

Heck, they let the TSSAA run the rest of their "extracurricular" business. I'm surprised they are willing to stick their necks out and make rules for a ballgame.

Eric H
Eric -

If the TSSAA could work on a faster schedule, I suspect that Maryville would have let them run the show. (Heck, I'm not sure if the TSSAA could have screwed this up any worse than the Maryville School Board.) Given the need for a knee-jerk, inadequate response, only local school board action would do.


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