Monday, August 26, 2013

School Solution: Sovereign Immunity for Students?

I was talking to a family member about the problems regarding public schools and their infringements on ordinary civil liberties afforded by the bill of rights, particularly the rights of free speech and due process. He, having kids of his own in middle school, had been thinking about the problem for some time now and had an extraordinarily creative idea: ask the school for a signed document upon admission granting his kids sovereign immunity. "Our soldiers get it over in Iraq, and these school rules are so different from our laws that attending them is like going to another country," he reasoned. "If the school decides to back out of this and decides to punish or expel one of my kids for anything other than a law of the federal or state government, they would owe me, say, two times what I payed in tuition costs, fees, books, etc. Maybe three times."

The catch, of course, would be the difficulty in getting schools to sign this, though their claims (and they all make these claims) that they support the rights of students under the Constitution would make it look rather strange for them to refuse to sign a legal document granting students the rights they already have outside of their campus.

But since many schools have sovereign immunity themselves, it may be possible to circumvent the school completely and simply get something signed by a district judge in the region. Maybe not. I don't know how that kind of law works, but this is an idea I hope to research a bit further, and look into as a possibility for myself in the near future. Since a lot of the expulsions, suspensions, mandatory sensitivity training, and unconstitutional rules (like "free speech zones") are the result of legal-pressure from people with little tolerance for uncomfortable ideas or speech, it seems like responding with legal-pressure from those of us with little tolerance for infringements on our laws and principles of government might need to be part of the necessary recourse.

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