POV | Schools shouldn’t undermine law enforcement
When I was a kid, our teachers taught us to respect the police. But one of our local schools seems to have a very different philosophy,
Take a look at this drawing that’s currently displayed in a classroom at North Oldham High School. See anything wrong with it?
Before you answer, think for a moment about its context.
If this were an editorial cartoon in a major newspaper, I’d vehemently disagree with its message – that police officers in today’s world are all just modern versions of Klansmen – but I wouldn’t deny the paper’s right to publish it. That’s what freedom of the press – and speech -- is all about.
But this drawing, which was done a year ago by a student who isn’t even in the class anymore, is still posted in the classroom by a teacher who apparently believes it to be a "good example and shows how racial violence has evolved." And the school administration defends its display by saying the student who did it “has a First Amendment right to share their opinion.”
Well, yes. And he or she did just that. Last year. But keeping it on display long after that opinion was expressed constitutes the school’s validation and approval of it. And that’s quite a different matter.
I don’t believe all authority figures are angelic and never do wrong. But I also don’t believe that all -- or even very many -- police officers are racist and can’t be trusted, which seems to be the message this picture conveys.
And I also don’t believe that one of the institutions society depends upon so much – our schools – should be in the business of undermining the legitimacy of one of society’s other essential institutions, which is law enforcement.
Discussion of these issues in the classroom is fine, because they’re important. But endorsing one viewpoint, especially one so inflammatory, over so many differing ones is not the role of a public school, and I believe the picture should come down.
Call and share your opinion.
I’m Bill Lamb and that’s my Point of View.