Civil Liberties

Dear Old Golden Rule Days


A recent graduate of Virginia's public schools explains how searches, surveillance, and zero-tolerance policies have produced a whole new way for childhood to suck.

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  1. My god that’s depressing. If I ever have a kid (that I know about), they will be going to private school, no matter what.

    1. I just had one three weeks ago. She will be going to private school…i don’t care if I have to sell a kidney (black market and all) to pay for it. When I was in school I actually had a few teachers that would agree with me on this whole issue and that was gubmint ed. Of course as soon as I could I enrolled in a provate collage. Broke the bank but was worth it. (I have since disowned my communist alma mater as they support some pretty horrific things in our state).

      Littel Brother, great book, READ IT!

  2. I was in high school when Columbine went down, and even in the aftermath things weren’t as bad as they’ve gotten since. The wife and i have recently come into circumstances that allow us to pull our kid from public school (a.k.a. subsidized babysitting) and get our Homeschool on, though, so that’s exactly what we’re doing.

  3. Sad. I graduated from HS in ’84 before all the paranoia. No kampus kops, no cameras, no locker or car searches. This was in Alabama so every guy had a pocket knife and during hunting season a lot of us had shotguns or deer rifles or .22s in the trunk. It’s a wonder we made it out alive.

    1. Ditto in Texas for 1980 grads.

      Except our shotguns and rifles were on the gun racks in our pickups.

      The armed response to anyone attempting a school shooting would probably have been visible from orbit. Which may have something to do with why there were no school shootings back then.

      Good times, good times.

      1. Actually, school shootings are way down from the 80s.

        In the 80s they werent someone shooting up the general populace, they were some gang popping some other gang.

      2. In my high school (late 70s) in Utah, we had a vo-tech class on gunsmithing. So there was open call for people to bring their guns to school for repairs for student experience.

        I just checked the high school’s website – no more shooting team but there is a “Scream Team” which I assume is to allow the poor kids a chance to workout their frustration with primal screams.

      3. 80’s Tennessee. I hear ya.

    2. I’m a 81 grad, and I’m with you. My high school was even an open campus, meaning there was not fence and I could saunter off campus any time (although technically I needed a hall pass).

      Carrying a gun on campus would still have caused a shitstorm, but nearly everyone had a pocketknife. Taking an aspirin wasn’t a crime. Giving lip to a teacher wouldn’t send you to jail.

      1. Hell, I’m a 90 grad, and I had open campus (no pass required, ever), and even I am amazed looking back at how few restrictions we had placed on us. My friend used to sell candy in class (while the teacher was teaching, but quietly); we had pizzas delivered directly to class after seeing Fast Times at Ridgemont High; my Calculus teacher used to give one of us money twice a week and send us across the street for doughnuts for the whole class; there were no hall monitors, cameras, locked doors, metal detectors, or security guards. We were all smartasses and the teachers did it right back. There was little to no violence, pranks abounded, and the teachers maintained control.

        1. Hell, i was (technically) class of 2000 (GED in 1999), but it still wasn’t as bad. Maybe that year i missed got a lot worse, i dunno.

          Those born 80-82 were probably the last set of people who didnt have a totally screwed up school experience. I didnt leave school early because of crazy policing policies, but good lord, i would’ve gotten my GED even earlier had it been anything like it is now.

          Ten years. That’s how long it took for the slippery slope to go near-vertical. But hey, slippery slopes are for conspiracists, so i’m just a nutjob and you got nothin to worry bout.

  4. I remember reading a while back that in the 1960’s, schools had target shooting as a school sport. Team members could carry honest-to-goodness rifles in the school halls, and nobody considered it any weirder than a band student carrying an instrument.

    Aren’t we fortunate that zero-tolerance policies have made us sooo much safer?

    1. Your right. I (Class of ’61) kept a 22 rifle and ammo in my school locker during rifle team season. We were also told that we “had boogers for brains” but if we studied and worked hard we could evolve to have the intelligence of a small mammal. Now we tell the students they are already geniuses.

      And you kids get off my lawn!

  5. Staff perform random searches of cars

    Get one of these.

    1. That wasd great!

  6. It’s time to separate school and state.

    The only downside is that some private schools, tutors, and parents might allow the kids under their charge to have stage swords and Midol pills, thus leading to bloodbaths all over the country.?

  7. When I was in school we had “Officer Friendly.” Law enforcement made a point of showing they were there to help you.

    Between the shit in this article, and the drug war, we’re training kids to fear cops instead of respect them. We’ve gone from Andy Griffith to a guy in a flack jacket threating to break you knees. Again, is there any wonder kids don’t respect authority?

    1. ‘a guy in a flack jacket threating to break you knees’

      It was a *gal* in a flack jacket. Not to mention ‘handcuffs [and] cable-tie style restraints.’

      1. No way she would ever abuse her authority to kneecap you with the billy club for saying she looked like she wanted to give you a blow job.

      2. The really sad thing about that, if your kid acts up in a big way at home and you spank them, you could be in trouble. But if officer Bonehead wants to take out your kid’s kneecap for the same behavior, it’s ok.

    2. Between the shit in this article, and the drug war, we’re training kids to fear cops instead of respect them.

      Sounds about right. Obviously, it would be great if policing was used only against criminals, and people could actually respect law enforcement.

      As it stands, i think we’re teaching the kids the right attitude.

  8. In the late 60’s-early 70s when I was in public high school, the required JROTC program had a rifle team, and even sponsored shooting “competitions” with Thanksgiving turkeys as the prizes.

    Never thought I’d be nostalgic about that . . .

  9. Cold hard truth from the pen of someone subjected to the kindly “protection” from the overwhelmingly liberal education system.

  10. I graduated from HS in ’84 before all the paranoia.

    Class of ’91, “urban” school (majority-black). The first random locker searches happened when I was a senior. They were done by school staff, and a lot of us sternly “forgot” our lock combinations that day. The next year, they brought in cops with pry bars and dogs.

  11. Of course if there ever was another Columbine, the rent a cops would run for the hills and do nothing to stop it except stand around and wait to pick up the bodies.

    I say this about other countries and I will say it about the United States. You are only as good as the people who make up your society. When you have a society full of enough people in positions of authority who think that armed guards and “security orientation” in middle school is a good idea, you are fucked. There is no fixing that.

    Schools are now the center of the perfect storm of our modern idiocy. This is where compulsory education and due process for everything leads you. In saner times, if you misbehaved in school, they kicked you out. You either went home and your parents dealt with you or you went to reform school. Now, we can’t kick kids out. Everyone gets due process. And you can also throw in the litigation mania into this. Look, how hard is it to control a bunch of kids? Not hard. If one of them ever tried to do you harm, most adults could kick the shit out of them. But, thanks to our litigious such an incident would result in an enormous law suit. And of course parents have no shame. Time was when people would be embarrassed by a disrespectful child. Now people expect everyone to bend over backwards for their little darlings. And the child is never wrong.

    So, since teachers can’t discipline students and every student gets loads of due process and can file a law suit over virtually anything, we hire cops to do the disciplining. Add in a dash of tabloid driven paranoia and this is what you get.

    1. The worst thing was, during Columbine the actual cops stood by and did nothing. In fact, there was a school shooting near Columbine and the person that stopped it was an unarmed teacher.

      This is where compulsory education and due process for everything leads you.

      Really? Due process is the problem? Your solution is to allow school administrators to become petty tyrants? The problem is that no one wants to deal with the process part of due process, so they implement zero tolerance rules which are just rubber stamps.…..ting_N.htm

      1. Dude, School administrators are, and always have been, petty tyrants. The difference is that previously they had community support for effective discipline, and suffered consequences for egregiously overstepping.

        Today the community expects them to egregiously overstep, and supports them unquestioningly.

        It’s really a sheeple problem – today’s parents are hysterical idiots.

      2. The problem is that no one wants to deal with the process part of due process, so they implement zero tolerance rules which are just rubber stamps.


        1. (and it applies to the justice system as much as education)

    2. Kids have to leave any rights they have at the door when they go to public school. On the flip side, the school is entitled to outrageous levels of leniency.

      Since when do kids get due process? They get suspended for bullshit all the time, as reported on this site. Yet if they accuse the teacher or school of wrongdoing, the teacher’s union bends over backwards to protect the teacher and administrators. Tell the 13 year old who got strip searched looking for ibufuckingprofen about due process?

      I understand what you’re saying about kids who misbehave. It’s like some alternate dimension where some ridiculously minor things get overblown by the school (zero tolerance anyone?) yet they let the worst things, the actual disruptions, go for fear of lawsuits. There is zero common sense happening at most schools.

    3. On the other hand, there often isn’t enough “due process” for certain kids. Like the girl who a top honor student, but was strip-searched because one other girl said she had seen her give a pill to another girl (she had not). Or the many cases we’ve read of a kid being sent for counseling, or suspended, or expelled, for making a drawing of a gun, or something that was vaguely gun-shaped. Heck, there was a story the other day about a kid sent home because he pointed his finger like a gun and said “bang.”

      What a crock of shit.

      1. If I were that little kid, the instant I was allowed to return to school I would point my finger like a gu and prtend to shoot myself in the head. That would really fuck up the school’s psychologist.

        1. And you would probably end up with a Psych record that will follow you for the rest of your life.

          Wanna buy a gun latter in life? No, you can’t have one because your psych record says you’re suicidal.

    4. Now, we can’t kick kids out. Everyone gets due process.

      Care to back that up with ANY legal precedence.

    5. John, what are you talking about? Kids get kicked out of school all the time. Did you read the article? Ever hear of “zero tolerance policy” One example of the stupidity cited in the article was a kid who got expelled for having a fake sword in the trunk of his car. And he was most definitely not offered due process, not even given a chance to explain himself.

      1. Zero tolerence = zero explanation.

        Ever notice, zero tolerance only applies to the people, not the government or authority.

        Maybe we need zero tolerance applied to the federal budget. If you pass a law that increases it, you are kicked out of Congress or the Whitehouse permanently.

      2. They do zero tolerance because they get sued. If you utilize judgment and let one kid off an punish another, you get sued for not implementing the rules fairly. Zero tolerance is the direct result of us turning our schools into litigation zones.

        Note also I said this is the result of compulsory schooling. If people had real school choice and could send their kids to any school they wanted, the administrators wouldn’t be able to get away with being such petty tyrants and there would be no need to constantly subject them to law suits. If you don’t like it, you could really go somewhere else.

        1. “” the administrators wouldn’t be able to get away with being such petty tyrants and there would be no need to constantly subject them to law suits.””

          They are being sued because they are petty tryrants. Yet they are petty tyrants because they are being sued?

          Have you seen lawsuits related to drug use? Which is probably the top, and probably the first, zero tolerance policy in school systems.

          Zero tolerance came about to show the public that they could do more about drugs, weapons, and violence that what they had done in the past. Something bad would happen, say a shooting, and the school system felt obligated to show something to the public as to how they were going to prevent it from happening again.

  12. Fuckin’ kids.

    I graduated from high school in ’73. We had designated smoking areas for students. Some of the seniors were over 18 and could buy liquor legally. I really hit the peak of public school freedom and am ashamed of what other boomers have subjected today’s students to.

    1. Me too. 1975.

    2. *shakes jealous fist*

      (we had to find discrete, non-patrolled smoking spots)

    3. “”I really hit the peak of public school freedom and am ashamed of what other boomers have subjected today’s students to.

      Many feel regretful about what they did back then, and feel compelled to prevent others from enjoying things so they won’t feel the same way later in life.

      And I wonder way nannyism is so popular today.

  13. I was class of 03 but the most my High School ever got was two douchebag cops and in my Senior year ID cards. I can only imagine how bad it is now.

    1. Similar experience here. Did you attend a rich suburban district too? Wondering if thats a pattern in the adoption of school-crazies.

      1. Nope it was a rural area school.

    2. ID Cards…RYFKM?!?!?! I didnt get an ID card until college and it was only for discounts at movies (used it until I was 28…awesome. unfortunately once the grey became more pronounced it didnt work). ID cards for high school…i just can’t belive that.

      80s ROCKED!

  14. One of the best things I have done for my kids it to put a lawyer on retainer and taught them the words, “you’ll have to talk to my lawyer”. The reality is schools have taken on the role of “law enforcement” and a students best bet is to not talk to them. Read this article from the Department of Education. Note how it mentions using searches to find “evidence that the student broke the law”. Also note the veiled warning against involving “law enforcement officers” as a “more stringent legal standard likely applies”. This article was written in 1996, and things have only gotten worse since then.

  15. This seems as good a time as any to recycle the following G. K. Chesterton quote about how having kids under parental authority is better than having the government take over parental functions:

    ‘Modern education is founded on the principle that a parent is more likely to be cruel than anybody else. It passes over the obvious fact that he is less likely to be cruel than anybody else. Anybody may happen to be cruel; but the first chances of cruelty come with the whole colourless and indifferent crowd of total strangers and mechanical mercenaries, whom it is now the custom to call in as infallible agents of improvement; policemen, doctors, detectives, inspectors, instructors, and so on. They are automatically given arbitrary power because there are here and there such things as criminal parents; as if there were no such things as criminal doctors or criminal school-masters. A mother is not always judicious about her child’s diet, so it is given into the control of [murderer] Dr. Crippen. A father is thought not to teach his sons the purest morality; so they are put under the tutorship of Eugene Aram [an infamous English teacher hanged for the murder of a friend of his]. These celebrated criminals are no more rare in their respective professions than the cruel parents are in the profession of parenthood. But indeed the case is far stronger than this; and there is no need to rely on the case of such criminals at all. The ordinary weaknesses of human nature will explain all the weaknesses of bureaucracy and business government all over the world. The official need only be an ordinary man to be more indifferent to other people’s children than to his own; and even to sacrifice other people’s family prosperity to his own. He may be bored; he may be bribed; he may be brutal, for any one of the thousand reasons that ever made a man a brute. All this elementary common sense is entirely left out of account in our educational and social systems of today. It is assumed that the hireling will not flee, and that solely because he is a hireling. It is denied that the shepherd will lay down his life for the sheep; or for that matter, even that the she-wolf will fight for the cubs. We are to believe that mothers are inhuman; but not that officials are human. There are unnatural parents, but there are no natural passions; at least, there are none where the fury of King Lear dared to find them–in the beadle. Such is the latest light on the education of the young; and the same principle that is applied to the child is applied to the husband and wife. Just as it assumes that a child will certainly be loved by anybody except his mother, so it assumes that a man can be happy with anybody except the one woman he has himself chosen for his wife.’

    1. Beautiful.

    2. “”This seems as good a time as any to recycle the following G. K. Chesterton quote about how having kids under parental authority is better than having the government take over parental functions:””

      The government parental system is not just for kids, put down that cigarette you lard eating, sugar drinking, salt pouring fatass.

      1. Don’t worry though, one day the government parental system will be replaced with the corporate parental system, then everything will be ok.

  16. Class of ’85 here and rural NC. I also remember that students had gun racks in their trucks and the JROTC used to do basic rifle marksmanship on campus with rimfire .22s (virually every boy carried a pocketknife as well).

    OTOH I’m not sure that I would have had any big problem with lots of security cams in the halls and classrooms. It might have cut down on some of the predation that was so prevalent (if administrators had been inclined to do anything about it with any evidence the cameras would have provided, that is).

  17. Class of 06, from a rich white suburban school, and instead of 10-22s, people brought Aquafina bottles full of vodka. Great.

  18. Most of the crackdowns seem to have been happening in the last 5 years. I was in school during Columbine, which resulted in a new drill where we’d lock the doors and pretend the room was empty. In the last five years, my old high school has added cameras, drug sniffing dogs, and three layers of 12 foot high fences.

  19. Here’s a good one.

    Added: Mar 08, 2010 10:39 am
    The U.S. Department of Education (ED) intends to purchase twenty-seven (27) REMINGTON BRAND MODEL 870 POLICE 12/14P MOD GRWC XS4 KXCS SF. RAMAC #24587 GAUGE: 12 BARREL: 14″ – PARKERIZED CHOKE: MODIFIED SIGHTS: GHOST RING REAR WILSON COMBAT; FRONT – XS CONTOUR BEAD SIGHT STOCK: KNOXX REDUCE RECOIL ADJUSTABLE STOCK FORE-END: SPEEDFEED SPORT-SOLID – 14″ LOP are designated as the only shotguns authorized for ED based on compatibility with ED existing shotgun inventory, certified armor and combat training and protocol, maintenance, and parts.”

    What the hell does the department of education need with shotguns?

    1. short barreled shotguns at that.

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