The United States and many many other western nations value ideas such as democratic elections, freedom of speech, freedom of press, and such. Many democracies typically pride themselves with those qualities, though in recent years all of these rights have been under attack. Yet we have been quick to defend them, to protest government surveillance, for example. Americans like to boast the values of democracy and freedom, yet at the same time, we practice the suppression of democracy.
Virtually every public school in the United States (and in most countries) is run as an authoritarian state, not a democracy. The people who run the school are not democratically elected, for example. There has always been the controversy of favoritism within these jobs. Schools can pass many rules which are blatantly violating human rights (such as social network surveillance) without much opposition. I have already covered some of the human rights violations that schools commit, such as zero tolerance policies and social network surveillance (some schools actually ban students from using social networking), but there’s a lot more to the obvious authoritarianism practiced in schools.
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier is an infamous case. This case essentially allowed schools to censor and change as much information as they wanted to in school newspapers. Doesn’t that sound familiar? You know, the state censorship practiced in many authoritarian countries? It’s ironic that Americans pride themselves on freely run media yet the same practices in authoritarian states are applied in schools. Any ideas that go against the school or anything that questions the authority of the school district is immediately censored. It’s all white-washed propaganda.
Teachers and school officials more or less often experience power trips. Perhaps the most infamous case was in 2004, where a teacher ordered 2 students to throw a student out the window. This was in Newton County, Georgia.
Teachers and school officials will punish students for anything that vaguely violates the school rules. Students are often punished for having their phones turned on in class, using their iPods or mobile devices during lunch, being “defiant” for whatever reason, carrying any sort of sharp object, regardless of its purpose, and many other stupid policies.
Students have no right to create an independent union. Students have no right to walk out in defiance of the school. Students have no right to protest in front of the school, regardless of the issue. There are so many anti-democratic rules and practices in schools that it makes our schooling system look like a fascist state. Unlike any other group in the United States, young people (17 and under) actually have their rights revoked. The right to free speech, the right to privacy, the right to protest, all of these things which are supposedly protected by the US Constitution and other equivalent documents in democratic countries are suppressed for students.
Spread the word that schools actively oppress human rights, that schools oppress basic amendments. It seems ironic that many schools have documents like the Bill of Rights or the Constitution posted in classrooms and hallways yet these schools go against such basic principles.