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With respect to the student at Llewellyn Elementary School, his performance wearing a Barack Obama mask, whether he entirely understands it or not, is political speech. Political speech is afforded the highest level of protection under the 1st Amendument of the United States Constitution. President Barack Obama is probaly the most public and political figure in the United States today. Even though the student is a minor, he is guaranteed the right to political speech.
Had the school required him to refrain from apparently, or allegedly, explicit dance moves, its action would have been appropriate and justified. To require the student to remove his mask depicting President Barack Obama is entirely inappropriate, and a violation of the student's Constitutional right to free speech under the 1st Amendiment.
This is more properly called censorship, and is a practice the early Congress guarded against, precisely because speech, whether critical, parody, or otherwise, is fundamental to a functional and free democracy. Freedom is the very idea upon which our nation is built. Freedom from the tyranny of a monarch.
Undoubtedly, the school and its representatives are well-intentioned, and are valued public servants, promoting and promulgating the education of the children of our community. Nonetheless, making people uncomfortable is the very basis of change, the very thing upon which the current President has premised his platform. For this reason, the adults, in this school context, should not impose their biases on the innocence of the children under their tutelage.
posted 4 years, 2 months ago
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