Brickbat: A Little Appeasement Never Hurt


Henry DeGroot thought it would be a good idea to write pro-democracy messages on the notebook of a fellow student. Given that DeGroot was attending a school in Beijing on a semester abroad program, he shouldn't have been surprised that school officials gave him five hours of detention. But he was surprised when he got home and was barred from attending his prom by the Newton, Massachusetts, school system. Newton officials say DeGroot embarrassed the principal of the Chinese school and may have endangered the relationship between the school systems.

NEXT: Tonight on The Independents: Eric Cantor Shocker, Woe in Afghanistan & Iraq, David Boaz on Sentencing Reform, Snowden Plea-Float, Police Militarization, Meet Libertarian 'Spoiler' Sean Haugh, Teacher Tenure Ruling, Plus After-Show*

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The school system, he says, taught him the importance of civil disobedience and speaking his mind, but then punished him when he practiced what he learned.

    So the kid is a liar in addition to a rabble-rouser.

    1. They may not have done so on purpose, but being oppressed tends to spark rebelliousness.

    2. The school system, he says, taught him the importance of civil disobedience over approved subjects and speaking his mind about the right things, but then and punished him when he practiced what he learned didn’t do as he was told.

  2. I googled the e-mail address of the superintendent of schools in Newton, and sent him this:

    Mr. Fleishman,

    I’ve read several news accounts describing Henry DeGroot’s run-in with the commie rat bastard apparatchik in China who placed him in detention for five hours for writing some very obvious remarks in a notebook. I don’t expect any better from the minions of the Red Dynasty, but your own actions in further punishing this brave young man upon his return to what is supposed to be a free country are appalling.

    You know full well that banning DeGroot from going to his senior prom was nothing but a churlish, snotty, and vindictive move on your part. You are the kind of slimy little boot-licking piece of shit that makes communist regimes possible. To hell with you, and to hell with whoever made the mistake of placing you in a position with any authority over children.


    1. You can forget about being invited to their prom!

    2. I’m sure that was taken as a compliment.

    3. It was hard not to read that in R. Lee Ermey’s voice.

      1. OH!!! GOOD!!!

  3. Expected blowback from DeGroot’s policy of intervention in foreign people’s affairs.

  4. Oh man, imagine that. School administrators in America wanting to be Maoists.

  5. I love how Fleischman keeps yammering about how he supports free speech and political engagement…so long as it’s not embarrassing.

    1. There is a proper time and place for “free speech” [scare quotes!] and political engagement.

      It’s called a “Free Speech Zone”.
      There’s one in every county. Ask your friendly kommisar for its location.

      Happy free speaking and stop resisting.

      1. Just be sure to give the kommisar your correct address, cell phone number, all your internet passwords and all email addresses. Just in case you say something hurtful without a trigger warning in the “free speech” zone.

      2. In the United States, the Free Speech Zone starts at the Canadian border, extends to the Mexican border, from sea to shining sea, and includes Alaska and Hawaii. Anyone pretending otherwise is an anti-American thug, and should be dealt with as such.


  6. [Newton School Superintendent David] Fleishman said he is concerned that DeGroot’s actions could have an impact on the entire exchange program. The Newton schools have had a relationship with [Beijing Jingshan School Principal] Fan and his school since 1979, and have been involved in the school exchange since 1988.

    “I applaud kids who want to be politically active, and I believe this program helps kids be active citizens of the world,” Fleishman said. “I don’t want to jeopardize that goal by one student doing something that could end one of the longest-running exchange programs with China.”

    There you have it. The exchange program has been a feather in this guy’s little cap and he doesn’t like that it’s been jeopardized.

    1. “We have a long history of sending promising, young brown-nosers over there to finely hone their lapdog impulses, so they properly respond to state authority, when the time comes.”

  7. If you have a “relationship” with a school which insists on punishing students for free speech, the problem may not be with the students.

    1. THIS

      The kid apparently breached a very detailed code of conduct. If your code of conduct requires kids to park their mind, then shame on you – and frankly, shame on the kid who signed it too.

  8. This is Newton after all, a bastion of limousine liberalism.

  9. Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown Newton, Massachusetts.

  10. If we protest to much, the Newton schools might sic the server squirrels on us.

  11. The kid missed the point of the cultural exchange program. He was suppose to learn to love communism, not spread democracy.

    1. In the comments section, he said he was an avid socialist and environmentalist.

      1. Ha! Then what was the point of the exchange? He is already a totalitarian bootlicker.

      2. So, more Nazi than ChiCom?

        1. Yep, they are eating their own. The Fascist leaning socialists are trying to kill the dem-socialist.

      3. That word, avid, confuses me. I’ve always though it had to refer to some action e.g. avid golfer/runner/public masturbator. How can you be an avid ideologist, it doesn’t make sense.

      4. That makes him conservative by Newton standards

  12. Young man, you’ve learned a valuable lesson. Hopefully.

    1. Do you know the difference between hope & shit? Well, hope on one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up first.

      1. You’ve given me hope…

      2. Young man, you’ve learned a valuable lesson. Shitfully.

  13. Huh. OT. But when I reached the last comment, and looked at my comment box, it was prefilled with something that said “Just checking to see if libertarians were still retards” (or something like that). I run reasonable on Chrome. Anyone else notice it?

    1. Yes, I saw that too. I was hoping I was just having an acid flashback.

      1. So, seriously, someone *is* cyberattacking H&R?

      2. Not seeing it in mine.

        Sounds like someone is blowing a script kiddie as payment for some online jollies.

        1. I haven’t been able to see it on a reload.

          1. Because you’re high.

            A reload has eliminated it for me

    2. I use the latest pre-Chrome version of Opera, so I didn’t notice it.

    3. Yep (on Chrome, running reasonable, AdBlock, Norton and FT News Feed). I’ve emailed the webmaster

    4. Poor grammar or time traveler?

  14. “Mr. Schindler’s attempts to fool the authorities in order to keep non-Aryans from the labor camps has endangered our relationship with the Third Reich”

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.