Public schools

High School Called Cops, Homeland Security on Kid Who Said 'ISIS' During Pledge of Allegiance

'Abundance of caution'



This has to be one of the worst school censorship cases in recent memory: A Connecticut high school called the cops on a teenager for allegedly uttering the word "ISIS" during the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI both looked into the incident, which happened before Christmas but is just now being reported by local news. The action was taken out of "an abundance of caution," according to the school.

The student was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing but was removed from classes at Ansonia High School and is now attending alternative schooling, his mother told The Connecticut Post.

Police Lt. Andrew Cota had this to say:

"The Ansonia Police received a complaint from the Ansonia High School Administrators on October 9 of 2015. The SRO completed a report and we forwarded it off to Homeland Security as we would with any case that we feel needs to be brought to their attention. We are no longer investigating this matter. The allegation is that the male was allegedly making pro ISIS statements during the Pledge of Allegiance. As this is a juvenile matter there is no much information there is no other information being released."

I have a hard time imagining that the student actually made pro-ISIS statements, and his mother denies that this was his intention. But so what if he had? Is the student not entitled to basic First Amendment protections?

Here was the police chief's answer to that question:

Ansonia Police Chief Kevin Hale said the matter is closed as far as the department is concerned.

He said a person may have First Amendment rights to free speech and to use the word "ISIS," but that doesnt mean "you can yell 'fire' in a crowded movie theater."

If I had a dollar for every time some overzealous censor cited the patently misused fire-in-a-crowded-theater analogy, well, I would have more than a few dollars.


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  1. I wonder how many teachers, admins, and police shit their pants due to this.

    1. If you mean covering their asses legally, yes.

    2. The Mandatory Minimum for Feces Filled Slacks is one member minimum from each affected branch of the school (presume all); and all the police, as required by the taxpayer.

      If there isn’t a run on professional legwear at Kohl’s in the next few days, I will initiate a Class Action against these rogue officials.


  2. The action was taken out of “an abundance of caution,” according to the school.

    Seems like that excuse could possibly be abused if we’re not careful.

    1. Leading to “an abundance of ‘an abundance of caution'”.

    1. That is literally the most frightening comment you could make – wait… Yes, literally.

    2. Is is what is is.

  3. Teenager Behaves Stupidly, Film at 11

    1. Petty Authority Abused in Predictably Petty Ways

  4. He said a person may have First Amendment rights to free speech and to use the word “ISIS,” but that doesn’t mean “you can yell ‘fire’ in a crowded movie theater.”

    I swear. Someone needs to do a fucking TED talk or a Netflix documentary or something explaining to the current generation how backward their understanding of this is.

    1. And I should have bolded “but.”

      1. Indeed. Remember, everything before but is bullshit. “I’m not a pants shitting, authoritative cunt but,…”

    2. IIRC, that quote was never even binding precedent, much less still good law.

      1. It was used to justify jailing of people for speaking out against the draft.

        1. Yeah, but I think it acted as mere dicta, not binding precedent on the subject of shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Whatever it was is moot now, what with the Brandenburg precedent.

          1. Oh right. It has no basis in law or anything. It means nothing.

      2. Actually it was originally made in a judge’s dissent in a case that had been decided otherwise, as I understand it.

        1. Schenck, the case in question, was decided unanimously.

    3. I think yelling anything during the movie in a crowded theater is a good way to get your ass kicked. Movies are expensive, and I didn’t pay to listen to assholes. I mean, assholes that aren’t in the movie.

  5. “Fire in a crowded theater”

    Paging Popehat.

  6. I’m for revoking the First Amendment rights of anyone using the “Fire in a crowded theater” analogy on the grounds that they’re too dumb to use those rights.

    1. Fire in a crowded Gitmo cell

    2. Even if it were any kind of binding precedent, which it isn’t; no one ever was charged for yelling “fire” in a theater, it specifically refers to someone deliberately creating a dangerous situation, not banning unpopular, offensive or obnoxious speech.

  7. I guess that’ll teach the kid not to pledge allegiance to a tyrannical regime that brutally enforces its narrow vision of good culture and moral behavior.

    1. Thread winner.

    2. I’d hardly call it narrow. It seems pretty broad, sweeping and frighteningly random.

    3. The cops should haul the teacher’s ass in jail for making the students recite a stupid mantra chant, pledging their allegiance to a government they can’t even understand at that age.

      They can’t get married, they can’t vote, or be held binding to any contracts they sign.

      But they can “pledge allegiance” the the USA. And pay taxes, if they work.

      Because all adults know that the pledge is a joke. It doesn’t matter. The kids will obey the government of the USA, or else. Period. No pledge or promises required. It’s just a fun little exercise to indoctrinate the young. It’s purely for their benefit.

      Stupid joke of a place.

  8. The student was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing but was removed from classes at Ansonia High School and is now attending alternative schooling

    at an madrasa in Bridgewater.

    1. There’s always a blade of grass that gets a little higher than the rest.

  9. I would argue that, if there is a fire in a theater, one has a positive moral duty to warn those present.

    1. What kind of Libertarian are you. A true blue Libertarian goes all George Costanza when the building is on fire.

    2. Maybe, but I’d yell fire on my way out the door.

  10. Land of the repressed, home of the pussy.

  11. Only question that needs answering is, is the kid correctly “ethnic”? If so, White House invite just needs a signature!

    1. Yeah I thought of that. Also, did he have a clock?

  12. This required a ton of pieces to fall into place. A lot of pieces.

    1. And every single one slotted into place like a well-oiled machine.

  13. OT, new poll finds Sanders up in Iowa.

  14. we forwarded it off to Homeland Security as we would with any case that we feel needs to be brought to their attention.

    After completing a report, which was no doubt exhaustive, they still felt the matter needed to be brought to the attention of Homeland Security. Forget the McGeorge and William, these guys are our best and brightest.

  15. I Pledge Allegiance to my Woodchipper.

  16. Why are kids still being forced to recite that bullshit pledge?

    1. You’re not forced to recite it. But if you do choose to recite it, but fuck well better recite it right, bitch.

      1. Back in my day *spits*, we were forced to recite it or be suspended for insubordination. In retrospect it all seems very Hitler Youthy.

        1. This sort of thing seems to have skipped a narrow range of ages.

          I remember saying the pledge in 2nd grade (in Kentucky) it not ever being brought up during the rest of my schooling in AZ. But teachers at the local middle school lead recitals today.

          So, sometime between 1978 and 1989 the pledge wasn’t a thing for schools in my area – but before and after that it seems to have been/become important.

      2. I plead alignment to the flakes of the untitled snakes of a merry cow and to the republicrats for which they scam: one nacho, underpants with licorice and jugs of wine for owls.

        1. you just recited the pledge into your iPhone didn’t you?

    2. It is funny, one of my aunts posted one of those “back in my day we recited the pledge” memes on facebook today, to which I gave her my standard response of …

      “I’m sorry, rote recitation of oaths of allegiance to the state by children are the tools of fascist dictatorships and have no place in a republic of free and sovereign men. There is a reason the pledge does not appear in any of our founding documents, the founders considered the very idea of them to be morally repugnant. The pledge was created by a socialist in the late 1800’s as a way of indoctrinating children into worship of the central government.”

      So I’m expecting a call from my mother sometime tonight

      1. course 5 minutes later she followed up with something posted by Joel Osteen Ministries and then something about how Canabis is illegal because it can treat a whole host of illnesses and the Pharmaceutical industry can’t cash in on that.

        So anyone wanna take a guess who she’s voting for?

        1. Hitler? It’s always Hitler. Or is it always Yul Brynner? I get confused.

          1. Well in this case Trump, so Hitler wasn’t too far off

  17. I pledge allegiance to the flag of my local territorial monopoly of aggression, and to the euphemisms upon which it stands, one monopoly, ever centralizing, with serfdom and stagnation for all.

    1. Well done.

  18. Well just to throw in the actual words of Oliver Wendell Holmes. And it is in the main opinion, there were no dissents or concurrences.

    The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic. It does not even protect a man from an injunction against uttering words that may have all the effect of force. The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree.

    1. tl;dr: Congress shall make no law. 😉

    2. Which, if the idiot cops here had actually ever read that opinion, would mean that there’s *still* no problem as saying ‘pro-ISIS’ things is not analogous to falsely shouting fire (OMGHE’SGOINGTOKILLUSALLRIGHTNOW!) or ‘uttering words that may have all the effect of force’.

    3. Which makes it pretty clear that even if the kid was expressing genuine support for ISIS it would still be protected speech.

  19. Just once I’d like to see a kid yell out “Oh Mighty Isis!” during the pledge.

    1. You mean this wasn’t about that Isis?

  20. I once yelled “theater” in a crowded fire station. It didn’t go so well, most of those guys lift weights…

    Honestly, I thought this gem up all by myself, but a googled the rough concept and see Abbie Hoffman beat me to it, so a hat tip (and a guitar crack over the head)…

  21. OT: Submitted for your approval from from TrivialParticulars…..entencing/

    Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw was sentenced to a full 263 years in prison on Thursday for a series of rapes and sexual assaults against black women living on his beat.

    Holtzclaw was convicted in December on 18 separate counts of rape, sexual battery, forcible sodomy, and procuring lewd exposure. He had been charged with 36 separate counts stemming from the allegations of 13 different women. The 18 convictions against Holtzclaw came from charges levied by eight of those 13 accusers, and had a maximum combined sentence of 263 years. The judge could have decided to let him serve some of the terms concurrently, which might well have meant he’d have lived long enough to come out of prison in the future.

    1. I was hoping for a sentence somewhere around 1,000 years, but it’ll do.

    2. Too bad he couldn’t serve them working in a gay donkey show in Tijuana

    3. Why didn’t his parents ever tell him not to rape?

    4. Where’s Dunphy when you need him?

  22. Of course you can yell fire in a crowded theater, if it’s actually on fire.

  23. “I pledge Allegiance to the flag /
    Michael Jackson is a fag”

    Would probably get today’s kids arrested for hate speech…

  24. FBI/CIA and DOS actually promote ISIS just like they promote drugs. Look up “DOS – Think again turn away” on twitter. It’s just like anti-drug propaganda. Tells all the horrible things ISIS does like makes you kill your parents and rape school children.

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