Schools Are Not Parents (and Neither is the Government)

It certainly appears in many cases that parents sometimes abdicate their responsibilities for their children to the teachers and administrators of their local school, but from a purely legal standpoint, schools are clearly not parents.

For those parents that do shirk their responsibilities to maintain control, teach discipline, and engender in their children a sense of personal responsibility – shame on you. For those parents that do everything in their power to teach these things to their children and raise them up to be responsible adults – you should be proud. And you should be outraged at what is happening these days. You rights are at stake.

Where the conflict occurs is when a school district, because of the sins of a few, takes it upon itself to formulate policies related to behavior of students when they are off school property and not under its supervisory control.

Just such a situation has come to light due to the policies of the Lacey Township High School district recently. It seems that this New Jersey district has established a policy allowing the suspension of students for up to a year if they are reported to be in possession of a weapon of any type for any reason or purpose on or off school grounds. No school district has the right to dictate the behavior of any student when that student is not under its supervision and control. This control clearly ends when the student leaves school property unless participating in a school sponsored activity.

In the New Jersey case, a student posted pictures on SnapChat including one of several firearms and some equipment that the students and some friends were utilizing in a completely lawful and peaceful manner at a local shooting range that was not on school property. The photo(s) were accompanied by a caption, “Fun day at the range,” according to a family friend of the suspended students.

The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC) is quoted by Fox News as reacting to the five-day, in-school suspensions of the two students tied to the photos by stating, “The policy is clearly wrong and violates the Second Amendment. We hope that they’re reasonable people and they will fix it. If they don’t, we’re prepared to take legal action,” ANJRPC executive director Scott Bach told Let’s all hope they do.

The only known comment from the school district is, “Information posted on social media is incorrect.” There was no denial of the policy’s existence noted, again, according to Fox News.

It has become almost a weekly occurrence to read that somewhere in America a student or other citizen is being attacked for conducting completely lawful activities. The only people feeling offended or who believe such acts somehow need to be controlled are the leftists among us. Why is it that these people simply cannot go about their lives without the need to control what other people are doing when the people that bother them simply want to be left alone and free to live their lives.

Just two days before this incident hit my radar, a good friend, Brenda Arthur, made headlines when she was contacted by the West Virginia State Police wanting to know why she filed a Freedom of Information Act request. I will write later about the answer to that question, but for now let it suffice to say that her request was legal, and the statute governing such matters specifically states that the reason for such requests need not be disclosed.

We are rapidly approaching the day when America will have quietly surrendered most of the freedoms our ancestors fought through many wars to preserve. Unless, that is, those of us who appreciate the sacrifices of our past heroes and those who appreciate the freedoms – ALL OF THEM – those heroes sacrificed for step up and speak out demanding that the government entities that continually overstep their bounds in the quest for more power and control stop the madness and restrain themselves by the chains of our constitutions (both state and federal).

Once these documents are rendered mute by the silence of those who are supposed to be governed by their dictates, it will very likely be impossible to regain the freedoms guaranteed to us by the blood of so many fallen patriots. Silence = Consent. I could not live with myself if I remain silent. Too much is at stake! When you see or hear about such incidents, say something! After all, the ones wanting to control us are always telling us to do so.

Tom Stark

Tom Stark’s career began with Air Force service, including a year in Thailand and Vietnam, and progressed through a variety of manufacturing and service positions to Manager of Security, Safety, and Transportation for the Orange County (FL) Convention Center. He graduated from Barry University in 1994 and soon after embarked on a second career building custom furniture as an entrepreneur for the last 20 years. He unsuccessfully ran as a Tea Party candidate in the 2010 Congressional race (WV-01). Tom currently writes and advocates for smaller more prudent and less intrusive government, strengthening families and protecting life while building free market principles that make America stronger. He is now 70, retired, and residing with his wife in Weston, West Virginia.

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