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NP: Speaking truth to (ignorant, clueless, incredibly petty) power

Friday's Post column is about Kieran King, the Saskatchewan high-school student who's been hassled by freaked-out school administrators because he dared to, er, contradict DARE.

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!


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Comments (8)


Great column! Ignorant, clueless, incredibly petty indeed. Looks like some things haven't changed much...

Garth Wood:

Sadly, when this young man finally gets to University, he'll probably discover that it, too, has turned into the opposite of what it claims to be...

I remember a wacky Objectivist from the UofA used to run into a lot of flack from Education students when he referred to public schools as "government youth camps".

One wonders who's getting the last laugh.


Back in my high school days, I remember one of the topics chosen for our class debate was the legalization of marijuana. The teacher even provided handout material on the pros and cons of legalization.

Snarktastic, my good man. Snarktastic.

And good on the young man. Freedom isn't a thing, it's an attitude.


The school administration obviously overreacted in a major way with the gag order and threats, but was a 3-day suspension for Kieran King's free speech protest really so out of line ? When I was in high school (in Texas, and admittedly a long time ago), I would have garnered the same if I'd walked out of class at 11:05 on a Tuesday, no matter what it was in aid of.

I love the new format!

John Grace:

Great. The school system is dead. Just won't topple over.

This reminded me of two things. First, Paul Graham's likening of teachers to prison wardens.


Second, the Stanford Prison experiment.



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