Thursday, January 07, 2010

...or face the consequences

Looks like the ACLU finally got one right. Here's the story in it's entirety from The Denver Post;
Student arrested over "Nobama" sticker gets settlement
By Howard Pankratz
The Denver Post

A Dakota Ridge High School student who wore a "Nobama" sticker taped across the front of his shirt prior to an appearance by Michelle Obama will receive $4,000 from Jefferson County authorities, the ACLU of Colorado announced today.

The $4,000 settlement agreement with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department and the Jefferson County School District avoided a potential lawsuit, according to a news release from Taylor Pendergrass, ACLU staff attorney.

On Nov. 3, 2008, Blake Benson showed up outside the high school gym as others were lined up to enter the gym to hear Michelle Obama speak. Benson was one of three students who chose to "stay and campaign" for Sen. John McCain at the school prior to the speech.

According to the ACLU, Dakota Ridge school officials told Benson to leave. When he refused, officials had Benson handcuffed, searched and arrested for interference — a charge that carries up to six months in jail and a $750 fine. At the time of his arrest, Benson was holding a McCain-Palin campaign sign.

Benson was also given a one-day suspension by principal Jim Jelinek. In his notice of suspension, Jelinek stated the reason was that "Blake was directed to cease politically protesting on school grounds," said the ACLU. ACLU cooperating attorney Dan Recht represented Benson in the criminal case. In May, Jefferson County officials said they would not pursue the criminal charges.

"Jefferson County officials were wrong to censor the peaceful, purely political speech of a high school student just a day before a historic national election," Pendergrass said in a statement. "We should be encouraging civic engagement and political discourse in our high schools. Unfortunately, Jefferson County officials sent exactly the opposite message last November by arresting Mr. Benson for expressing his political views."

Both the school district and the sheriff's department agreed to pay $2,000 to settle claims that Jefferson County violated Benson's free speech rights. The ACLU noted that Jefferson County officials did not admit to wrongdoing.

In a statement, Benson said that what his teachers taught him about "our constitutional rights wasn't respected outside the classroom. "If one thing comes from this case, I hope it is that other students will learn more about their free speech rights and not be afraid to use them."

Jacki Kelley, spokeswoman for the Jefferson County sheriff's department, confirmed that the $2,000 was paid. Kelley also confirmed that an internal-affairs investigation was launched to see what, if any, punishment the deputy who issued the citation to Benson should receive.

Kelley said the investigation has concluded but the results will not be revealed because it involves a personnel matter. However, she added that "lessons were learned from the investigation."


Blogger Volpius Leonius said...

Get used to hearing that "lessons were learned phrase" a lot, I have been hearing it over and over here in the UK by government department that get caught making a mistake, no one is held accountable these days they just put it down to a "learning experience" and get on with collecting their pay checks in fact the guy will probably be promoted, tat seems to be the way with liberals.

You would have hoped that lessons on the constitutional rights of citizens would have been learned long before someone gets made sheriff though wouldn't you?

6:03 PM  
Blogger Confiteor said...

As has always been the case and as Obama himself has stated publicly, liberals view the American constitution as a hindrance to their agenda. Liberals in this country have never and will never respect the United States Constitution.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Anita Moore said...

The ACLU: proving once again that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

8:13 PM  
Blogger JLS said...

Aren't there criminal laws against false arrest and abuse of authority? Conspiracy to commit kidnap or unlawful detention? Handcuffs?

Peer pressure is bizarre: I was in my 12th grade economics class, a half semester govt reqt, when the extremely popular teacher explained the graduated tax system.

I do not know where this teacher's head was, but no doubt the sun didn't shine there.

He insisted that all of us commit ourselves to the belief that the more money you make the less money you end up with ... because he claimed that more income meant higher tax bracket.

I refused to agree, so he had all believers stand, and I remained seated. In my case it did not required "de-bonding" from friends because none of the others in that room was a close friend or even a social acquaintance, so it was fairly easier to refrain from groupie-ism or teacher cult followership.

The young man in the news story made a tough decision based on what he believed was a good and socially responsible act. Implied in the situation that one can speak freely in class but not in school is the result that the classroom then becomes in the minds of the kids a fantasy land, a TV couch, a place where the ideas discussed are meant to be laughed at outside the classroom, a training ground for the development of hypocricy.

In my own case I simply had one of those gestalt moments where I suddenly knew that the teacher was a moron, a cult icon, and a wannabe ... not sure what he wanted to be, though.

Maybe he wanted to be like the walk on priest in the other new blog who did a Christmas combo routine of Mass and Vaudeville; well, I wonder who plays the Pied Piper the best, the teachers, the administrators, or the guys whose second job is being a priest (I wonder what their day jobs are ... and I use this metaphor because they are certainly priests of the night, of the darkness).

10:59 AM  

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