Monday, May 23, 2011

The Candy Cane Case

Don't you sometimes wish that school administrators would spend more time ensuring that all students are given a top quality education and less time on zero tolerance idiocy or events like this?
Do young children have First Amendment rights? Federal judges in New Orleans will hear a case Monday morning that could answer that question. Dubbed the ‘Candy Cane Case,’ it all started when a student in the Plano Independent School District was told that he was not allowed to hand out candy canes with religious messages attached.

Officials with the Plano ISD said that they were simply following a district-wide policy that prevents students from distributing religious materials. But as a result, a group of families sued the school district.

The 2004 lawsuit lists several examples of students being prohibited from promoting their beliefs. The young boy was told that he could not pass out candy canes that were tagged with religious messages. In another instance, a little girl was threatened for handing out tickets to an after-school play with a religious theme. Students were also told not to write the words “Merry Christmas” on cards being sent to troops serving overseas.

Since there's no indication that this caused a "disruption to the learning environment" the district's policy was wrong. No, children don't have the same 1st Amendment rights as adults do, but we should restrict those rights only as much as is needed to maintain the learning environment.

1 comment:

Ellen K said...

You have to understand that Plano used to be the district all other districts sought to be. Wealthy and growing, they had means to do outrageously costly things. The children grew up largely indulged and as we know, with indulgence comes the attitude that the schools are servants instead of institutions. As such, parents expect schools in Plano to replace parents in terms of deciding who will believe what. This is not the first time this happened and it won't be the last. On the one hand, I doubt that I would send my kid to school with candy stating a probably made up story to profess a faith. On the other hand, had Plano officials not decided to make a federal case out of this, nobody would have heard another word about it. Of course now, Plano is suffering from RIF's due to their failure to save any of their money during the fruitful times. Religious or not, reading about Joseph and the Pharoah might have provided some good advice about that.