But when a student can be suspended for voicing an opinion that the school administration doesn't like, that's interesting. And it happened in Canada. Or did it?
Like me, this student doesn't smoke pot. Like me, he doesn't think it's any worse than alcohol. Like me, he probably supports its legalization.
This story turns, however, on whether or not the student sold marijuana. I notice he didn't deny it, but instead said he's never smoked it. I hope more information will be forthcoming.
Kieran King's views on marijuana have led to his suspension from Wawota Parkland School.
King said he was threatened with police action by Principal Susan Wilson previously after making the case that marijuana was less harmful than alcohol.
"In my opinion, cannabis is safer than they say, it is not worse than alcohol or tobacco," said King, a 15-year-old Grade 10 student.
Wilson accused King of using and selling marijuana at school, according to a media release issued by the Saskatchewan Marijuana Party. King has offered to submit to a voluntary drug test to prove otherwise.
"I've never smoked marijuana. I've never even seen it," said King.
The story doesn't say what punishment he received for using and selling. The title of the story suggests he was suspended merely for voicing an opinion, but the story itself says he was suspended for participating in a "free speech" walkout over this controversy. Yes, he was threatened with police action for his opinion, but what actual punishment occurred for voicing his opinion? This reporting is very sketchy, but the consequences of his suspension are not.
The three-day suspension will prevent King from writing his final exams before he goes to China on a correspondence course. He's to leave Thursday.
The honour student said he will still pass Grade 10 because his marks are in the 80s and 90s. By missing his final exams he will lose 30 per cent of his marks.
That's just petty. That principal is on a power trip. I wonder if he'll really submit to the drug test to prove he didn't smoke pot at school. Of course, there's no real way to prove he didn't sell it, though, because you can't prove a negative.
Update, 6/23/07: Instapundit (see blogroll at left) links to the following comments from Colby Cash:
What fascinates me about the case of Kieran King, the Saskatchewan high school student who was threatened, punished and slandered by various officials over the past three weeks for talking with some pals about the health effects of marijuana, is that it explodes almost every single utopian cliche about public schools that has been ever propounded by their employees and admirers. It's almost glorious, in a way. Ever heard an educator say "We're not here to teach students what to think -- we're here to teach them how to think"? BLAMMO! "We encourage children to make learning a lifelong process." KAPOW! Poor Kieran didn't even make it to age 16 before someone called the cops.
"Diversity is one of our most cherished values." But express a factually true opinion that diverges from what you've been taught and -- WHOOMP! "Public schools aren't crude instruments of social control, they're places where we lay the foundation for an informed citizenry." BOOM!
I could go on, but I'm running out of sound effects and I really don't have time to fire up an old Batman episode on You-Tube to gather more.