I’ve long admired the ACLU for its willingness to defend the rights of even the most reprehensible souls among us. It’s important and necessary work. But the organization has had its share of clunkers, and this case is one of them. The ACLU seemingly doesn’t understand, or care, that gathering students in an auditorium for a talk from the principal is neither punishment nor discipline. It’s education. It’s teaching them that boundaries are in place, and that actions will have consequences.
How does that become a federal case?
The ACLU has inadvertently provided a peek into the inner workings of the culture of victimization. Its lawyers would have school principals be willfully blind to specific tensions, and instead treat any small, containable trouble as a school-wide problem. Because to do otherwise would be to run the risk that a student might be made to feel that he or she is individually and specifically expected to behave.
And of course, that kind of oppression can’t be tolerated.