Drug War

Teachers Accused of Poisoning Kids' Minds With Constitutional Law


Two teachers at Norview High School in Norfolk, Virginia, were placed on paid leave this week while administrators investigated a parent's complaint about "unauthorized materials": a flyer and a video that explain how to protect your rights during encounters with the police. The flyer (PDF), though produced by the Police Unwelcoming Committee of the anarchist CrimethInc Ex-Workers' Collective, offers accurate advice that people of all political stripes might benefit from:

You have the right to be in a public place and to observe police activity…

It is not a crime to be without ID…

To stop you, the officer must have a "reasonable suspicion" to suspect your involvement in a specific crime….

Cops can do a "pat search" (search the exterior of one's clothing for weapons) during a detention for "officer safety reasons." They can't go into your pockets or bags without your consent.

The video, Busted: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters, offers more in a similar vein, illustrated by dramatizations of police encounters during a traffic stop, on the street, and at home. The organization that produced it, Flex Your Rights, makes no secret of its opposition to the war on drugs. But again, the advice is sound and potentially useful to anyone who values his privacy and freedom.

According to the complaining parent, her daughter "came home recently and said, 'You won't believe what we are learning in Government. They are teaching us how to hide our drugs.'" Although Busted depicts a couple of pot smokers (a passenger in a car and a guest at a house party, if I recall correctly), this gloss is not an accurate description of the video or the flyer; it sounds more like the daughter's (or mother's) supposition about who would be interested in the finer points of Fourth Amendment law. It seems perfectly appropriate to use materials like these to illustrate the relevance of that topic in the context of a 12th-grade government class, and it's sad that parents think the Constitution is dangerously subversive.

NEXT: Hillary Clinton: The Rich Are Different Than You & Me; They Don't Pay Their "Fair Share" of Taxes

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  1. Actually, the Constitution is inherently subversive to an all-powerful all-intrusive state. By design and intention. That’s kind of its whole point.

    1. We’re working on that, Mr. Dean.

  2. If you send you kids to public school, you are a moron: exhibit number 2,451.

    1. Considering that most people are forced to pay outrageous property taxes to fund the schools and private schools can cost tens of thousands of dollars and the fact that you are required by law to send your kids to some kind of school, I think your statement is a bit harsh.

      I think the better way to put it is

      “If you send your kids to public school for any other reason than because you have no other choice, you are a moron.”

      1. This is an important point when arguments about “public schools are making our kids socialists” come up. Having been to a fancy private university, where most students came from private schools, I can say that private schools don’t do any better, and many are worse, than public schools when it comes to filling their heads with lefty nonsense.
        Not to be interpreted in any way as a defense of the crap that goes on in public schools, or of the existence of public schools.

        1. Imagine that this is below John’s next comment.

          1. I”m trying to picture it, but can’t quite get it. Let me squint my eyes…. yes, I can imagine it.

            1. Zeb + Greer = Laughin My Ass Off

        2. Yup. The Left owns the entire education establishment. Yet, somehow manages to avoid any blame for the break down in the quality of education in this country. Go figure.

          1. I seriously doubt the failures of our education system have much to do with the political positions of teachers. It has more to do with the perverse incentives for both teachers and administrators that our system is infected with.

            1. I don’t think it has to do with which Presidential candidate they vote for no. But I think it does have to do with the ideas and techniques that are taught at educational schools. And who is responsible for that?

              1. Maybe the real question is why can’t conservatives compete, evil conspiracy or no. Why are conservatives so inept at running the evil education/scientific/media/entertainment cabals that allegedly indoctrinate us all?

                1. I graduated high school in 1981. I still have a social-studies textbook from that era. Compared it to the shit my son had to read when he was in high school about five years ago… no comparison.

                  That, alone, was an eye-opener. No wonder I had to deprogram the lad every day – he was being taught some fucked-up shit.

                  1. My oldest is in second grade and I’m already deprogramming him. Hey, I suppose that’s my job as a parent. But, I started early. “Buckle your seat belt or the policeman will hit Daddy with a stick.”

                    1. “Buckle your seat belt or the policeman will hit Daddy with a stick.”

                      “..But you should do it anyway, unless you want to die.”

                2. When conservatives get in control of school boards and try to warp the curriculum toward their ideology, the courts strike them down.

                  While I have no desire to see intelligent design taught in biology class, teaching that Herbert Hoover was a free market radical and the New Deal ended the Great Depression in social studies is no less disturbing.

                  1. is no less disturbing boring.


        3. For secondary school, I went to exclusive private schools, including Swiss boarding school. Most of the students/teachers/administrators represented the political views of the population, and perhaps leaned a little right. At the University of Chicago, where almost all the students had gone to private schools, the students were ridiculously leftist. So I think it’s the type of person who chooses elite tertiary education, rather than indoctrination in private schools.

    2. My wife works for a very high end private high school. Every teacher is a radical lefty. The place is full of every PC lunacy you can imagine. It seems no different than the public schools. Short of home schooling, I don’t see what you do.

      1. Send them to Phillips Andover?

      2. I think the Catholic schools are marginally better on the lefty front as long as you can get past the theology classes demanding altruism. Then again it may have been the part of the country I was in.

        1. I’m pretty sure they will have your kid go to a separate study hall during religion class if you request it.

        2. What’s lefty about a religion demanding altruism from its followers? I don’t get it.

          1. Nothing. I think the point is the type of “altruism” that is taught, an endorsement of redistributive policies of the state and teaching that such policies are somehow “just” and thus one’s opposition to them is “unchristian” or opposed to Christian values.

            It’s the same thing as liberals advocating high taxes on rich people because its “only fair” and the only way to “help people.”

            1. What WTB said. It is tangentially related and really focuses on personal charity which is just fine but can also get into social justice type arguments. Although that wasn’t really the direction it took in my school. I have heard that it is more common here in the Hispanic LA catholic schools. I was merely pointing out that the altruism taught in theology classes would be the only thing I would have considered to have been “lefty” not that altruism is inherently “lefty”.

      3. John, how about “become a teacher?”

        1. That’s what I did, in part to combat the nonsense. You can’t fight it, man. And if you try, well…

    3. The cheapest private school around here is $7K/year/kid. I don’t have that kind of spare cash, no thanks to having over 1/3 of my income confiscated ever year, unless I plan on kicking off the very day I retire.

      1. $10k is the cheapest I’ve found here. Heck, next year I’ll be shelling out $5k a year for preschool.

        I really want to eventually send my daughter to private school. But it’s gonna be tough to do it.

      2. You were already a moron, so financial excuses are irrelevant.

        1. I can’t really argue with that. I blame my public schooling.

          1. +1 very nice

          2. JW has won today’s internets prize already.

    4. OTOH, it looks like the student who complained has been trained to be a good little snitch, if she lives long enough.

      1. Seems like she was being the typical hyperbolic teenager. If we could harness the teenage capacity to create drama from thin air, we would solve our energy dependency issues.

    5. I attended a great public school, and am glad I did.

      1. I am happy with my public school education as well. But I think it has more to do with who I am, and being fortunate to have had a few very good teachers, than the school. Talking about that time with other members of my cohort, they could have attended a completely different school.

        1. Fair enough. I’m sure many of my classmates feel they didn’t get anything from their education (though that doesn’t necessarily mean they would have if they had been in private school). I just object to the idea that public schools provide inherently poor educations to all who attend.

          Mind you, that doesn’t mean you have to believe in the principle of public education. You can believe that public education is a bad idea overall without smearing every single public school teacher as incompetent and every education gained there as useless.

          1. Oh, I agree that some public schools are quite good. There is nothing inherent in public schooling that means it will always be of poor quality. The problem is that the system we have is, on the whole, bad. We need to change the assumption that most people make that publicly funded and provided education is the only way to have an educated populace. Personally, I prefer public funding, but little or no public (government) provision of schools.

            1. We need to change the assumption that most people make that publicly funded and provided education is the only way to have an educated populace.

              Exactly. I’ve learned a billion times more by just readin wikipedia than I ever learned in my K-through-11.5 experience. Back to programming some C to run on a microcontroller…..Thanks For Alegbra, Public Schools! (Algebra being the ONLY thing i took away from the School Experience.)

      2. Which one of your teachers told you to say that?

    6. I pay 7K a year in property taxes, and 80% of that goes to the school district. No effin’ way am I paying for private tuition.

      1. Public School is to the point now where I no longer consider it a “service” it is now damaging to a child’s future potential. I would rather pay extra for a private school or home school than subject my child to that.

        1. But but but, then you’re paying for both! (I got your refutation: i’d rather pay double to have my kids NOT be fucked up rather than pay 1x and have some fucked up kids.)

      2. Are you on Long Island like me? I pay about $8k per year to put my neighbors’ kids through school and about $4k for my own child’s Catholic education. That will change in the fall when he is off to HS and the tuition will double.

  3. If you send you kids to public school, you are a moron

    Hopefully, they’ll learn how to spell the possessive “your” correctly (I know it was likely a typo, but the irony is great)

    1. I never said I wasn’t a moron. But I’m really more of a grade-A nimrod than a moron.

      1. Yeah. Everyone knows the possessive form of you is “yer”.


          By the way, I have to admit that I love Trailer Park Boys. Those guys are brilliant.

          1. Yep. “Frostnecks” are Canada’s prime contribution to culture:

            Red Green;
            Great White North;
            Corner Gas;
            Trailer Park Boys

            1. I was never comfortable after Julian and Ricky dragged Bubbles into the Halifax underbelly with them. I always preferred him as an innocent.

            2. You forgot “Strange Brew” you philistine.

              1. Great White North (originally Canadian Corner [or was it Kanadian Korner?]) was the SCTV permutation of Doug & Bob McKenzie.

                1. A hoser is a hoser, no matter which channel or program he’s on.

                  1. There were angels on that song, hoser.

            3. Seriously. That movie is the only significant Canadian contribution to the culture in the last 100 years.

              1. Rush, Sloan, New Pornographers, Barenaked Ladies are all Canadian things I’ve enjoyed.

                1. Not to mention, most television programming from the past 10 years.

              2. Well, the video for “The Darkest One” is a great contribution to culture, combining the Tragically Hip, Trailer Park Boys and Don Cherry into one awesome package.


              3. Canadian Bacon was quite funny (much better than the similar but overrated Wag the Dog). Michael Moore could have been a decent movie director if he wasn’t a leftist troll.

              4. Don’t forget ReGenesis.

            4. FUBAR

            5. So I googled Corner Gas and found out it’s a “Comedy based in a fictional Saskatchewan town.”

              I used to live in Saskatchewan. Believe me, there is nothing funny about fucking living in fucking Saskatchewan. Nothing!

            6. I think you missed the Hart professional wrestling dynasty.

      2. Nimrod was a mighty hunter before the Lord.

        He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.” — Genesis 10:9

        For some reason Ive always found that one of the most amusing verses for its self referential manner. Plus referring to a no longer common saying.

        1. You are a grade-C nimrod, rob. Possibly even a C-. But at least you’re not a grade-D nimrod like NutraSweet.

        2. Also, according to verse 11, he built Nineveh.

          Which can be important info to know if you ever need to cross a bridge.

          1. I’m working on settling on a favorite color first, so I don’t equivocate at the wrong time.

            1. Im still not sure of my quest, I think I have the name one down though.

          2. The fleur-de-lis belongs to me. It is a flowering plant that blooms on the mound under which which my tomb was built. It’s shape resembles my three horned crown. I’m rising from the tomb, crossing the ocean, and ripping the head off of the NFL commissioner who dares claim a copyright on what is mine!

            I am Nimrod, a Hunter before the Lord, and the mighty Lich King of Nineveh!

            1. Where can i order a copy of that version of the Bible? Sounds like a good read.

              1. ‘fraid it is out of print.

        3. Yeah, I always marveled at how stupid the author thought his readers were. If the saying was that common, they probably would have made the connection.

          It sounds like an incredibly dry Norm MacDonald joke, if anything.

          1. It may have been a common saying at the time it was written down, but lost its meaning over time. In the last chapter of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, McAulay notes many popular sayings that had fallen out of fashion in the first part of the 19th century. The sayings and are now incomprehensible to anyone unfamiliar with that era. (IIRC, “Boz” was one such.)

            If this can happen in only a couple of centuries within the English language during a time when literacy was common, it is inescapable in a culture where only a few are literate.

            Add to that the many transcriptions, revisions and translations of the text of Genisis over 26 centuries +.

            1. Or God is the alpha and omega of vanity fiction writers.

              1. Don’t forget delta. ?

            2. Does your mother know you’re out?

  4. I love the name “Police Unwelcoming Committee”. Do they sell T-Shirts?

  5. I’ve seen the video in question, (in fact it’s posted on Hit and Run here). I understand your point here, but 2 out of 3 of the vignettes involve people who were unquestionably guilty of drug possession. The interpretation most people (let alone most schoolkids!) are going to get from it is that this is a video about how to get away with drug possession, not about constitution theory.

    1. Very true. Is it really that hard to explain constitutional rights without making it a how to class on dealing drugs?

      1. This video sums up nicely why you should never talking to the police without tips on dealing or hiding drugs. Though it only covers the fifth.


        1. Fair enough. But see my point below. Drug use just happens to be the crime that they use to illustrate the point. Reason doesn’t have a problem with it because they don’t like the drug laws. But if they had used another crime, say rape, I wonder if Reason would still be okay with it.

          1. I am unclear as to why it should be necessary to portray the individuals who are claiming their Constitutional rights as criminals of any kind whatsoever – it spreads the idea that you don’t need to be worried about the trampling of your freedoms unless you “have something to hide.”

            1. +1

          2. Constitutional rights still apply to rapists. The Po-lice are responsible for apprehending suspects and gathering evidence within the limits established by the Constitution. So while rapists are immoral scumwads, they also reserve the right to refuse being searched for evidence or rape or rape paraphernalia.

            1. Constitutional rights still apply to rapists.

              Yup. But they’re still Rapists…which is unquestionably a very serious crime.

            2. I’m afraid to see that rape paraphernalia.

              1. You better be.

        2. Fantastic video; thanks for sharing the link.

    2. If that’s what you get, then you’re not really watching the video, you’re perceiving something from your own biases. If a 12th grader is seeing that, then the school system has failed her, since she obviously hasn’t learned critical thinking skills.

      1. Well, it’s good to know that you and Mr. Sullum are free from bias on these matters, despite your passionate advocacy against drug laws. Benighted dupes like myself need someone to show us the pure objective way of viewing the videos.

        1. A smarter teacher would have taken the lessons of the video and taught them in a different way. Perhaps by explaining the rules to the children and then break them into groups to write and perform their own vignettes about a traffic stop, where the drug use wouldn’t be implied.

  6. These teachers should be fired for teaching our kids such dangerous information and telling them that illegal drugs are OK. Kids should learn to respect and obey the police in these matters.

    1. You sure got a pretty mouth.

    2. You sure got a pretty mouth.

      1. If you think a lipstick-smeared rictus is pretty, power to ya.

    3. *barf*

      1. Is this the new “Yo, fuck ________”?

    4. Seriously, is someone impersonating Juanita? Nobody could really be this dense without generating an ignorance singularity that would consume the earth.

      1. You must be high.

      2. Seriously, did you never get that Juanita has ALWAYS been a parody/satire handle?

        1. You wish, stoner.

          1. Oh gosh, who impersonated me? Why? Why would you do something like that to the kids?

  7. Though the spectacle of public employees being put on “paid administrative leave” while the powers that be try to find a way to cover up their actions seems relevant to police behavior too. Maybe the kids will learn something!

  8. The organization that produced it, Flex Your Rights Save Western Culture, makes no secret of its opposition to the war on drugs allowing blacks and Latinos to vote. But again, the advice is sound and potentially useful …

    I’m not sure I agree that the source of a video is immaterial if the content is sound and potentially useful.

    1. Really? You think that’s even comparable?

      1. No, but a lot of parents of school-age kids do, for reasons that are not unworthy of being taken seriously.

  9. “it’s sad that parents think the Constitution is dangerously subversive”

    No. It’s sad that parents think such a thing and then don’t LOVE the Constitution for that very same reason.

  10. crimethinc

    Man I’d been wondering what he was up to.

    He went quiet about the same time Joe did, didn’t he? Hmmm.

  11. We are the girls of Norfolk High,
    We don’t drink, we don’t smoke.
    Norfolk! Norfolk!

    1. Readers need to know that the locals pronounce it “Naw-Fuck.”

      1. Yes, thanks.

      2. The NAW- part is right, but I always heard the second syllable as -fouk, akin to the vowel in should and could.

    2. It goes “We don’t drink, nor smoke, nor…”

  12. So if they had been shown a video on how to get away with date rape using their constitutional rights, you’d all be OK with that.

    Yes, I know that date rape is harming someone while drug possession isn’t, but that’s a distinction that only libertarians care about. I know that we think drug laws are stupid, but it’s getting kind of old that you all are shocked when most people don’t act like they agree with you.

    1. Up above you seemed surprised that Moses* thought his audience was stupid.

      *or whoever

      1. On the other hand, Moses supposes his toeses are roses, so he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, either.

    2. The distinction doesn’t matter. Rapists have Constitutional rights to. They just chose to use drug possession as the crime to illustrate how to assert your Constitutional rights. They could have made the same points with an accused rapist as they did with someone accused of possessing drugs.

      But if they had done that, Reason would posted the story as a “you won’t believe what public school teachers are doing now” story rather than a “brave school teachers slapped down by the man” story.

      1. I was going to use drunk driving as an example of a crime they could have used that would be more likely to piss Reasonoids off, but then I remembered we have a contingency that opposes those laws too.

        1. In that case, our comments would be constituent upon what you said.

        2. I would absolutely endorse a video that told people they didn’t have to volunteer for breathalyzer tests and could just take the license suspension and fight the charge in court.

          1. I expected as much, but would you paint a teacher getting in trouble for showing students such a video as oppression for teaching constitutional values?

            1. In a civics class?


              If we have a certain set of laws, it really can’t be inappropriate for a civics class teacher to teach about those laws.

              The only real question here is whether the information is factual. Did the teachers give the kids incorrect information or something?

              1. So you’re down with the getting away with rape video being shown in civics class.

                I don’t see how it fails to meet your criteria for appropriateness. Heck, a getting away with murder video that showed how to use silencers and avoid leaving fingerprints, dispose of the murder weapon and dead body in a way that minimizes the chance of them being found, would seem to meet the Fluffy Test.

                1. No, it wouldn’t.

                  The Fluffy test is merely that if our laws provide people with certain rights, even the guilty, then it cannot possibly be inappropriate for a civics class teacher to teach about those rights. Because the laws being enforced have no more legitimacy than the rights being defended, since they’re all part of the same system.

                  A video teaching people how to actually commit a murder or destroy evidence would be in an entirely different category. The right to remain silent is not the same as hiding a dead body. One is part of our Constitutional system and the other is not.

                  1. You have as much right to remain silent about the location of a murder weapon and a dead body as you do about the presence of marijuana in your car…and that’s the relevant right.

                    There is no right to hide marijuana either, so that’s a red herring. The first vignette advised the driver to keep the window nearly closed when giving the officer your license, so he couldn’t smell marijuana smoke; the third vignette advised the viewer to keep drug paraphernalia away from the door (where the officers could see it) and close the door behind you as you go out to speak with the officers. So, concealing evidence IS part of what the video is teaching.

                    1. Heavens to Betsy!

                    2. There absolutely, positively is a right to keep marijuana in your pocket if the police don’t have probable cause.

                      You didn’t say “refuse to cooperate in a search”. You said “hide a body”.

                      If the topic was murder, and the vignette shown was cops coming to the door without a warrant and asking to search a house to look for a body, it would be entirely appropriate to show the suspect demanding they leave until they have a warrant. It would be inappropriate to show a video explaining how to weight a body down with cement and dump it in the ocean. These are completely different concepts, dude, and you once again don’t know the difference for some unknown reason.

        3. Drunk driving laws wouldn’t work as an example since there is some magical exception to the 4th and 5th amendments when it comes to drunk driving.
          The objections to the laws are more for this reason and to the standards of guilt which do not require any evidence of actual impairment.

      2. Not really, John.

        The illustration of certain Constitutional rights is best done with examples of contraband crimes.

        Rape would be a good crime to use as an example if you want kids to know that they don’t have to submit to blood tests without a warrant. But if you want them to know they don’t have to empty their pockets without probable cause, drug crime is pretty much the best available example.

        1. I don’t think so. You could illustrate that with a rape. Suppose the guy had evidence in his pocket like a knife or a ski mask? Also, rape is a great crime to talk about your 5th Amendment right against self incrimination.

          Law professors do this stuff to students on exams all the time. You can pretty much work in about any constitutional doctrine into a hypothetical you want to.

          1. I don’t think a arrest avoidance video for rapists would sell very well.

            1. Or be as popular with Reason.

              1. So I have a Constitutional right to hide evidence? Does this apply to duct tape? (Got that stuff on me ALL THE TIME, you know what I’m sayin?)

          2. You could illustrate it with rape or murder if you wanted, but the drug laws are still a much better example.

            Random interactions with police are about 25000 times more likely to be a fishing expedition for drug crime evidence than a police response to the machete you have wedged in your back pocket that is covered with the blood of five rape victims.

            1. I just took a random pursuing of my old Criminal Procedure book. Few of the landmark search and seizure cases involve drugs. Most of them involve more violent crimes and that includes the stop and frisk and search incident to arrest cases.

              1. Sure thing, John.

                And today, right now, I’m sure all of the searches and seizures going on are searching for evidence of violent crime. Riiiiiiight.

                Don’t be a dick. You know as well as I do that of the searches conducted today, this very afternoon, that the overwhelming majority will be contraband related. And of the stop and frisks conducted today in public places, what percentage do you think will be contraband related? Give me a number.

                1. You miss my point. You are saying it is better to do it with drugs. I am saying I don’t see why since most of the landmark cases don’t involve drugs. Yeah, most real life searches involve drugs. But who cares? That is not the argument. My point is that you don’t have to use drugs to illustrate the point.

                  1. You’re right John. You can use other crimes to illustrate the point. However if the goal is also to engage HS students I would think they might pay attention to a drug example more closely than say tax evasion or murder. Unless kids these days are into way different shit than when I was a kid.

                  2. It’s better to do it with drugs because the audience can relate to the situation. Over half of Americans have used illegal drugs. I’m assuming a lot less than half of Americans have committed violent crimes.

            2. So, you would have no problem with teachers showing a video detailing techniques for getting away with murder. Yes or no.

              1. Some of you guys are failing to accept that most people do not care if their sister’s girlfriend’s cousin’s boyfriend somes a little dope.

              2. How to get away with murder is completely different than what is being discussed here. I do not think the video in question was a good choice for the class, but clearly conflating marijuana possession and murder is not a reasonable argument.

                By the way, if you are accused of murder, demanding your constitutional rights be respected is valid, whether you did it or not. You still have rights, even if you’re a murder suspect. So if your question were phrased appropriately to the discussion, “You would have no problem with a teacher showing a video on how to avoid violations of your rights if you are accused of murder” then the answer would very appropriately be “Yes, I would have no problem with that”. The way you are phrasing it, however, generates a completely different, and not comparable, idea.

        2. John may have a point, in that it would be good to see a video like this where the people involved aren’t guilty of anything. A big part of the erosion of 4th amendment rights comes from people’s feeling that if they have nothing to hide, why not let them search. If kid’s were taught that you should refuse searches whether or not you have some pot in your pocket, we would all be better off and the cops wouldn’t be able to assume that refusal of a search means you are hiding something. A big part of the problem is that all too many people are willing to just roll over for the cops, whether out of ignorance of their rights, or because they think it will make things easier.

          1. To their credit, it’s possible that the black kid with the art supplies, who was arrested on suspicion of vandalism, was innocent in the non-drug story.

            But yeah, they should have made ALL of them innocent (but extremely stupid in dealing with police, causing them to get in trouble) in my opinion. That would quiet a lot of the criticism.

          2. It would have been better to make them innocent. Could have shown the same things and not made it look like a how to guide to being a criminal.

            1. If I remember it correctly the video 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police that Flex Your Rights would have been a better one to show as it did handled the subject better and showed innocent people dealing with the police in it’s vignettes.

              It’s up on their YouTube page.

        3. Oh, this is precious. My analogy is flawed because exactly the same vignette wouldn’t be applicable if you just replace the bong with a used condom? Good argument.

          As John notes above, it’s not hard to come up with a story where constitutional rights are used to avoid a rape arrest. True, you would have to heavily re-write the script of that video, but that’s irrelevant.

          1. Well, let’s think about why it might be less appropriate for the video to be about rape for a minute.

            In terms of the civics lessons involved, I don’t actually think it would be less appropriate at all.

            The only reason I would object is because there’s always a chance that one or more students in the class is a victim of a sex crime, and I would use different examples so that I wouldn’t be going out of my way to traumatize the victims of sex crime.

            So I would be less enthusiastic about a rape-themed video out of squeamishness about the topic of rape, and not because I somehow think that telling kids that accused rapists have rights counts as “teaching them to rape and get away with it”.

            1. This is so disingenuous it’s unbelievable. Would you be against showing a rape prevention video in Health class for the same reason?

              But OK, let’s go with the getting away with murder video instead. It’s extremely unlikely you have any murder victims in your class, unless you’re filming Nightmare on Elm Street I guess.

              1. Fine.

                If the video was about someone accused of murder, and it advised them that they have a right to remain silent, or a right to request an attorney, I would absolutely endorse that without reservation.

                If it showed them how to dissolve a body in acid so it could not be detected, I would not endorse that.

                It really boggles my mind that you can’t see the difference.

                1. As I mention up above, this video DOES give advice on how to conceal evidence of drug use from investigating officers.

                  1. Oh, just awful, liberty itself is threatened.

                  2. No, it doesn’t. It shows them how to refuse to cooperate with a search conducted without probable cause or a warrant.

                    If some cop asks to search your car without probable cause, and you say, “Nope”, it’s not obstruction of justice even if you’re guilty and the car is full of illegal shit. That’s what you don’t get. It’s not the same as destroying evidence or hiding evidence.

                    1. I never said anything about dissolving a body in acid. You could bury the body in your back yard; you could be transporting it somewhere else in your trunk. In either of these cases, you have a constitutional right to refuse a search, manipulate window and door closing techniques, etc.

                      You still haven’t answered whether you think a video teaching such “lawful” techniques would be appropriate for a civics class. (I put “lawful” in quotes because these actions are contingent on previously committing a crime.)

                      Or, as I originally suggested, how about a video showing how a date rapist (known to be guilty from the backstory) refuses to consent to blood or DNA tests, publicly claims the sex was consensual (as that claim is hard to disprove) while invoking his 5th amendment right not to have to testify to that under oath (so as to avoid perjury charges if he IS proven wrong). And to render your prior worries about rape victims being traumatized by this video, you can tell students that if they don’t want to see a video involving rape for whatever reason, they’re free to go to study hall instead.

                  3. Their methods to conceal evidence of drug use are absolutely lawful, protected by our Constitution. Even if they had been busted for drug use, they could not have been charged for “keeping a window rolled up in order to conceal fumes” or “concealment by putting away drugs and paraphenilia.” Those actions are lawful and our rights. Destruction of evidence, eg dissolving a body with acid, is against the law, and if they had been charged with murder, the destrucion charge would have been tacked on too.

        4. How about NO crimes? I agree that illustrating these rights via a crime advances the notion that one only invokes those rights when they have something to hide. My right to remain silent is every bit as applicable when I haven’t done a goddamn thing as when I have weed in my pocket. There’s no reason to have any crime associated with a video of this sort at all.

          This critique, it seems to me is looking for something to bitch about than anything else.

      3. But if they had done that, Reason would posted the story as a “you won’t believe what public school teachers are doing now” story rather than a “brave school teachers slapped down by the man” story.

        I don’t think so. I think there would be less outrage out in non-Reason quarters, but I think Reason would oppose the suspension of the teachers either way.

        I think you also need to consider that high school students learn about the rights of accused rapists every time they’re assigned To Kill A Mockingbird. So it really wouldn’t be all that unusual.

        1. And if the accused rapist in TKAM had been guilty, that would be a relevant point.

          Again 2/3 of the vignettes involved people who were guilty of drug possession getting away with it. The other one was more ambiguous about whether the guy was guilty or not, but it didn’t involve drugs so that doesn’t take away from the “how to get away with doing drugs” message many people are likely to get from it.

          1. Again 2/3 of the vignettes involved people who were guilty of drug possession getting away with it.

            So what?

            I guess I’m confused about what we’re arguing about.

          2. And, regardless of your opinoin as to the validity or usefulness of drug prohibition laws, the basic point remains:

            It is not the responsibility of the citizen to assist the agents of the State in apply the police power to oneself. It is, in fact, quite the opposite.

            It is the duty of the citizen to make that application of power as difficult as possible within the law, whether one is guilty or innocent.

            We make it hard on them, because it’s supposed to be hard on them. If they don’t like that, they can always find another job… nobody insists on their rights to the greeter at Wal-Mart.


    3. I am no longer “shocked” that people don’t act like they agree with me.

      That does not stop me from expressing outrage when people regard education in the exercise of constitutional rights as being somehow wrong.

      Your “date rape” analogy is flawed on many levels, but one that is applicable in this situation is the current tendency of prosecutors to escalate teens having sex to “sex offenses”.

      1. I’d be interested for you to share what the flaws and their levels are. I don’t see how the one you mention is a flaw; statutory rape laws are generally pretty clear-cut on which ages can bonk which legally.

        If you’re referring to the ridiculous kiddie porn charges against kiddies for “sexting”, that has nothing to do with date rape.

        1. First: The video does not tell people how to “get away” with a crime; it talks about knowing their constitutional rights. As John points out, everyone accused of a crime is not guilty of a crime.
          Second: As you concede, drug laws are about the non-violent acts of individuals, not inflicting harm on others. A cop who sees an unconscious person in a passenger seat has justifiable reason to search; one who thinks that a kid may have a baggie in the glove compartment doesn’t.
          Third: No one on this website has, so far as I am aware, ever seriously advocated “date rape” as a permissable activity.

          I agree that “sexting” has nothing to do with date rape. Also, though the “statutory rape” laws are precise, mindless application of those laws in pursuit of a rape conviction (so the prosecuter can get his “tough on crime” creds up) in situations where the diffence in ages is inconsequential is simple cruelty. And that is a situation where the accused would be well advised to “know his or her rights”.

          1. The video does not tell people how to “get away” with a crime; it talks about knowing their constitutional rights.

            Those are not mutually exclusive. As I’ve stated, 2 of the 3 stories show a person who is guilty of drug possession USING their Constitutional rights to avoid legal punishment.

            As you concede, drug laws are about the non-violent acts of individuals, not inflicting harm on others.

            And as I said in my so-called concession, that distinction is irrelevant to most people. It is against the law, whether you like that law or not.

            No one on this website has, so far as I am aware, ever seriously advocated “date rape” as a permissable activity.

            Which is exactly why I chose that example — that’s a “how to” video that I know Reasonoids would object to.

            1. And as I said in my so-called concession, that distinction is irrelevant to most people. It is against the law, whether you like that law or not.

              On that basis, I gather you would have no objection to the exectution of all of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

              They were, after all, breaking the law.

              1. And that’s the profoundest point to make here. Having these rights, and making sure that citizens exercise their rights to the fullest extent possible provides a huge intangible benefit to our society. That is, it forms a bulwark against the evolution of a police state. The founders were not interested in allowing people to commit rape, drug crimes or what have you. They were interested in allowing the populace the freedom to resist the authorities should the law become tyrannical.

                I agree that drug laws may not have been the most uncontroversial example, but it certainly allowed them to hit the important points in a concise and understandable manner. If you think that other laws would better illustrate the point, make your own video, Tulpa.

                1. If you think that other laws would better illustrate the point, make your own video, Tulpa.

                  You seem not to have gotten the point of my original post, and indeed Jacob’s original post. The question is not how effective the video is in educating people about their rights, it’s how appropriate it is to be shown in the midst of the official instruction of a taxpayer-funded school.

                  1. Yeah, the only appropriate videos are ones made by the school. And I’m sure they’d make a GREAT video about how to protect your rights. Something along the lines of “do as your told, the law is the law is the law is the law is the law is the law is the law is the law”

                    The Law does not exist for its own benefit. It’s supposed to be a set of controls that allow a more peaceful and productive society. But good luck ever getting THAT message from a public school.

    4. …but that’s a distinction that only libertarians care about.

      And people say we don’t care.

    5. Yes, I know that date rape is harming someone while drug possession isn’t, but that’s a distinction that only libertarians care about

      And libertarians are the nutjobs…go figure.

  13. Bit of a thread jack, but did anyone else see this? The Atlantic got seriously punked. Some guy named Ken Star got caught running a ponzi scheme. The Atlantic thought it was the Ken Star of Monica Lewinski Bill Clinton fame and ran a schadenfreude filled story on it. Only problem was, it wasn’t that Ken Starr.

    Remember, journalism should only be done by trained professionals.


    1. This is one of those cases where I wish you didn’t have to prove malice in libel lawsuits.

      I like the touch where they apologize to Bill Clinton for getting his hopes up in the “correction” … and mention an apology to Ken Starr only as an afterthought.

    2. Ken Starr? Wasn’t he in the Beatles?

      1. The bassist if i remember correctly.

  14. Electronic Frontier Foundation has some great tips on run ins with the law.


  15. Full of advice, while technically accurate should the US ever decide to prosecute police for lying or for violating the constitution, as a practical matter can get you f*cked royally.

    1. Indeed.

  16. If they’re going to teach and stress the values of the entire Constitution, like how the federal government has no business telling you that you have to buy something or go to jail, then I have no problem with this. If all kids are going to take away from the class is how to avoid harassment by the police, then it’s a waste of taxpayer money.

    My government course plan:

    Day 1: Government is a necessary evil.
    Day 2: The U.S. Constitution was designed that fact in mind and should be protected and enforced at all costs, despite what your college history professor will teach you.
    Day 3: Comparisons of government failures versus free-market failures, and U.S. failures vs. other countries’

    And so on. Wash, rinse, repeat.

  17. Most stops from police are going to be either fishing for DUI or some sort of drugs.. Rape doesn’t provide revenue, but DUI fines and asset seizure do. Regardless of what you think of the drug laws, the police still should not have carte blanche to search anyone at anytime.

    1. This.

  18. If the video showed people actively attempting to avoid arrest while engaging in drug related criminal activity, then I agree with John. It’s not appropriate to show a video that implicitly supports criminal activity (even if the teacher’s politics believe that some of the activity shouldn’t be criminal).

    However, I’m sure that a video could be produced that shows how completely innocent people could deal with identical sets of situations with police. That video would be classroom appropriate.

    1. Drug possession IS criminal activity according to the law.

      1. Did I say otherwise?

        1. Drig possession in several jurisdictions, including the people’s republic of masshole, is not “criminal activity”.

  19. Hey, how about some Reason love for the Fat Man?

    At a New Jersey town meeting, Gov. Chris Christie, the newest YouTube star for the limited-government set, was reproached by an unhappy teacher. The governor, facing a budget shortfall of $11 billion, has proposed, among other economies, a one-year salary freeze for New Jersey teachers. Her voice raised in anger (that’s a normal speaking voice in my home state), Rita Wilson protested that she should be paid $83,000, the only reasonable compensation in light of her “education and experience.” Christie’s reply got an ovation: “Well, you know what? Then you don’t have to do it.”

    1. Then she said “teachers do it for the love of teaching”, completely oblivious to the fact that non-monetary rewards (admiration, union job security) actually count for something, and without such we’d have a lot fewer teachers and she’d get paid more. Teachers would be better off saying they hate their jobs. Or just ditching their unions that reward mediocrity.

    2. I’m liking Christie more every day.

    3. Heh – and when she got checked out, turns out she indeed was NOT making the 83K she claimed to be worth. Her base salary is actually 86K. With her benefits package, easily 100K worth of compensation. Two things guaranteed – she probably won’t be offering to refund the excess salary, and she’s probably adamantly against core competency examinations for teachers, particularly ones with basic math skills questions.

  20. I think they raise some pretty valid points.


  21. Find a classical school. No progressive crap there. I even tolerate the fourth R they push because it’s still better than the alternatives.

  22. Those are not mutually exclusive. As I’ve stated, 2 of the 3 stories show a person who is guilty of drug possession USING their Constitutional rights to avoid legal punishment.


    I think I understand why Tulpa is so angry now.

    Tulpa apparently thinks that constitutional rights are good when they protect the “innocent”, but are bad when they are used by people who are guilty.

    Therefore showing people who actually have drugs using their rights is “bad” because it’s showing the “bad” uses of constitutional rights.

    1. Okay, so that covers why Tulpa is angry now. Any idea why Tulpa is angry all the time besides now?

      I suspect Tulpa may have some serious anger issues, just no idea what those issues are.

      Has he tried self-medicating? If not he should. If so, maybe he should stop.

      1. I suggest you end your explorations into the bowels of Tulpa’s psyche right there. It’s damned dark in there, and there are tapeworms.

    2. Tulpa apparently thinks that constitutional rights are good when they protect the “innocent”, but are bad when they are used by people who are guilty.

      Bingo. You think it is good that constitutional rights protect rapists, murderers, and cops who beat up suspects?

      Constitutional rights should be respected because, at the time when they are invoked, it is not known whether the suspect is innocent or guilty. And having a guilty person be protected by constitutional rights is a lesser evil than having an innocent person railroaded due to the ignoring them.

      But the ideal is not that everyone suspected of a crime goes free, as many libertarians seem to think; the ideal is that all of the guilty are punished and all of the innocent go free. If I’m forced to choose between erring on the side of too many going free or erring on the side of too many being punished, I’ll err in the former way, but I’d rather not err at all.

      1. But the ideal is not that everyone suspected of a crime goes free, as many libertarians seem to think


        1. Ummm, yeah, did anybody else think what Tulpa thought-we-think?

          but I’d rather not err at all.

          Well, that WOULD be great wouldn’t it. Get back to us as soon as you figure out how to become the perfect human being, I’ll vote for ya to take over the world. Till then, try to remember that everyone is fallible.

      2. Tulpa,

        Procedural due process is only part of the reason why our constitutional rights are good things, Tulpa.

        They’re also good things because they severely limit the range of things that can be made illegal as a practical matter.

        It would be very, very difficult for it be to made illegal to have certain categories of thoughts, for example, because the constitutional protection against self-incrimination would make it almost impossible to successfully gather evidence of that type of crime.

        So all of this “Wah, wah, you’re telling kids how to stop the police from enforcing the drug laws” really falls on deaf ears with me. Not ONLY because I oppose the drug laws, but because as a matter of principle I believe that if you can’t enforce a given law by remaining inside of the bounds of the Constitution, fuck you, too bad.

        It it becomes prohibitively difficult to enforce drug laws when people are 100% aware of their constitutional rights, hey – no skin off my ass. Maybe you should take that as a hint that the laws themselves are no good.

        We do a pretty good job enforcing the laws against murder, rape, burglary, etc. despite the fact that people know their rights. It’s only the contraband laws where all sorts of “exceptions” to our constitutional rights seem to be required. “Wah! We won’t be able to enforce these laws otherwise!” News flash: that is whatever genius of justice that remains in our constitution telling you to go fuck yourself.

        1. We do a pretty good job enforcing the laws against murder, rape, burglary, etc. despite the fact that people know their rights.

          Actually, we don’t. Take a gander at arrest/conviction rates for those crimes (especially burglary) some time. Not terribly impressive. (Though it has very little to do with constitutional rights in most cases.)

          It would be very, very difficult for it be to made illegal to have certain categories of thoughts, for example, because the constitutional protection against self-incrimination would make it almost impossible to successfully gather evidence of that type of crime.

          That’s not really true. It would be easier if not for the 5th to gather evidence of thoughts, but it’s not impossible. Several crimes get stiffer penalties depending on the thoughts and intentions of the perpetrator as evidenced by his or her words or actions witnessed by others.

          And of course most stand-alone “thoughtcrime” is protected by freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

          I believe that if you can’t enforce a given law by remaining inside of the bounds of the Constitution, fuck you, too bad.

          Nothing the officers did in the drug vignettes was unconstitutional. In the first one, the kids gave consent to every search the officer wanted. In the other one, the officers entered a house whose door was wide open because they saw a bong sitting in plain view — and the woman in the house then consented to a search of her dresser (which turned up the weed).

          The black officer in the vandalism-vignette probably did an unconstitutional frisking of the kid, but that wasn’t one of the stories that parents were upset about so let’s ignore that.

          It it becomes prohibitively difficult to enforce drug laws when people are 100% aware of their constitutional rights, hey – no skin off my ass.

          That’s not true. You sound like a drug warrior demanding exceptions to the 4th amendment, if anything. With good police work it is not hard to get sufficient evidence for a warrant and search the premises while the suspect is not home (and thus no flushy-flushy concerns).

          And I should add, for the umpteenth time, that I oppose drug laws just as much as you do. However, so long as they’re on the books, I’m not as willing to tear down the rule of law to nullify them as you and your ilk are.

  23. I take back all the terrible things I’ve said about teachers…well, two of them.

  24. In my never ending quest for Liberty and outlets, groups, and indivividuals who support Liberty I came across Modern Drunkard Magazine (think of it as NORML for us boozers, only more fun) some years ago.

    I’m not trying to jack this thread, and all the Reasonoids may be out for weekend anyway, but I can’t not share this lovely hate mail page with you.

    If Frank isn’t libertarian he damn well should be. He’d make a damn fine specimen.

  25. I’m a little conflicted on this one. The intent of the material is by no means offensive or wrong. Everyone should know their rights, and more importantly the limits and rules under which officers operate. However, there are better videos available that don’t contain anything that might be controversial like drug use, drinking, and so on. (I know these things are not offensive or controversial to anyone here, but I could see someone being offended or not wanting the state showing their kids such things. Especially some more religious parents like Baptists and drinking.)

    Personally I would have used all of or excerpts of professor James Duane’s and officer George Bruch’s discussion with law students. In my opinion it’s much more appropriate in a learning environment and more helpful.

    In short, the intent is not offensive, the method may be. There was a classier way to get the job done. A little commonsense and consideration often goes a long way to a much easier day.

    1. They’re teachers. They won’t be fired.

  26. juris imprudent|5.28.10 @ 4:01PM|#


    Man I’d been wondering what he was up to.

    He went quiet about the same time Joe did, didn’t he? Hmmm.

    I don’t recall crimethinc but joe use to have sockpuppets that would come into a thread voice a conservative or libertarian point, and then he would come into the thread to instruct that sockpuppet in the right way, and they sockpuppet would see the error of his ways by the end.

    In some ways when you look passed the layers and layers of bad faith you have to admire the sheer gall of the enterprise.

  27. Wait, the black guy in To Kill a Mockingbird was innocent? Shit, that changes everything.

    1. I really hope you’re kidding.

      1. I sure as hell didn’t do it.

    2. No, the black guy in In the Heat of the Night was innocent.

  28. John Grisham’s A Time to Kill was a much better book than To Kill A Mockingbird. It is like he took the raw and flawed manuscript from Harper Lee and went over it with attentive and careful consideration, and then he improved it in every single way.

  29. ‘Top Kill’ Fail ,s oil gushing
    OBAMA,O MY GOD WHAT HAVE WE DONE,THE END OF DAYS,GOD HELP US. INPEACH OBAMA THE COMMUNIST ,GOD OPEN YOUR EYES.///For us there are only two possiblities: either we remain american or we come under the thumb of the communist Mmslim Barack Hussein OBAMA. This latter must not occur.TO THE WEAK-KNEED REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRAT .THE COMMANDER REPOST THIS IF YOU AGREE

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