No, really, it does.
Today, MSN has a story on its homepage about a high school freshman who was suspended for five days. Her crime? Creating an anti-bullying video.
More specifically, the girl, named Jessica Barba, created an anti-bullying video and a facebook page that tells the fictional story of a fictional 12-year-old girl named Hailey Bennett, who lost her mother at 3, was abused by her father, was left alone after her only friend moved away and was bullied everyday. It ends with her committing suicide. The project was a school assignment.
Apparently, the reason for her suspension is that the video and FB page caused a disruption at her school. I guess school officials don’t like acknowledging serious issues that relate to school. The school found out from a concerned parent who reported the page, but didn’t scroll down far enough to see where Jessica stated that it was fake. Jessica’s mother tried to show printouts with the disclaimer to school officials, but, in her words, “they didn’t really care too much about that.”
I’ve been going to school for 13 years now. I am not surprised by a story like this. To me, this is typical. The last words of the article, stated by a director of the NYCLU in that particular county, really sum it up:
As students prepare to participate as full citizens in society, schools should encourage independent thought and dialogue about political and current events, even controversial ones. No school should ever punish a student because they disagree with what she’s saying, which appears to be exactly what happened here.
If only schools did that. It’s a fact: schools do not like confronting issues and prefer to ignore them or cover them up. They don’t want their students to have free minds. They don’t even want them to be different! I’ve got more than enough experience to know that.