Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Stopping Drugs Use at What Price?

Do parents have the right to control the behavior of their students? Do families have “family privacy” rights?

For this post it would be great if you could actually do some research on “family privacy”.

Should schools test students for drugs? Why might schools want to get involved in weekend illegal behavior of students?

What might be an economic push behind this increase of drug testing?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Online Constitutional Rights

Federal courts have struck down an opportunity to regulate the Internet. How is this a first amendment issue? Does regulation need to occur? Can we prosecute parents,online providers, or web-hosting sites,web authors for not filtering?


The 84 page decision.

Link to Brown's other site www.monticohort1.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Utah's Afterschool Club Laws

After reading the article from the NY Times, what seems to be the real issue for the citizens and the students of Provo, Utah? Do schools have an obligation to protect the moral well being of the students who traverse their halls?

How does the Equal Acess law of 1984 impact the effectiveness of this law?

What has to happen for the validity of this law to be decided upon by the courts?
Who gets to decide the "moral well being" of students?
I have also sent an email inviting both teachers and students from several schools in Utah to respond on our blog.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Olympic Torch and the First Amendment

Today in class we are going to try something different!

We will :
  • 1. pass out the laptop computers; (notice I used a semi-colon)
  • 2. then we will log onto www.qhst-seniors.blogspot.com;
  • 3. Then we will read the NY Times Article linked here together;
  • 4. We will of course share our thoughts in a disscussion;
  • 5. Then on our own we will read another linked article and post a comment.

Education Week

Choose one of the above linked articles, compare it to the NY Times Article we read together, and briefly explain both sides of the issue and share your own opinion.

Below is from an Anchorage Alaska Newspaper :

On March 19, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Morse v. Frederick, a free-speech case from Juneau that pitted an 18-year-old high school student against school officials. A decision is expected before the end of June.

The incident
On Jan. 24, 2002, Joe Frederick, 18, unfurled a banner near Juneau-Douglas High School proclaiming "Bong Hits 4 Jesus." School principal Deborah Morse took the banner, which officials said promoted marijuana use, and suspended him. He appealed, then took his case to federal court, saying his constitutional rights had been violated.

The case
Judge backed the school district in 2003. Last year, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and found that Frederick had a right to display his banner, "however vague and nonsensical." The school district appealed.

The issues
1. Can school officials punish student speech of this kind when it occurs off-campus during a semi-official school event? Officials say it undermined their anti-drug mission. Frederick's lawyers said it was not "disruptive" or "plainly offensive," two key tests set by the Supreme Court in the past.
2. Can the principal be held liable personally -- with monetary damages -- for violating the student's rights?

The lawyers
For Frederick: Juneau lawyer Douglas Mertz, with support from the American Civil Liberties Union.
For the Juneau school district: Kenneth Starr, the former independent prosecutor whose Monica Lewinsky investigation led to the impeachment trial of President Clinton.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Legalizing Marijuana

Should medical use of marijuana be legalized by the federal government? What political implications does this debate have? What economic factors might have an influence on the federal court system?

How did the fact sheets help you discuss the article from the NY Times better?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Principal's Monologue

Wow! Interesting class... Probably unique to a senior government class. According to what was understood in class have the girls constitutional rights been violated? Should schools be a haven of free speech or do school administrators need to consider the concerns of the public they are paid to serve? Should the school be scrutinized by the same democratic republic that keeps watch over the rest of the country? Are schools exempt from censorship? Are schools exempt from upholding constitutional rights? Whose stage were the three girls in Cross River standing on?

Below are letters written to the editor by other readers like yourself.

To the Editor:
Re “ ‘Monologues’ Spurs Dialogue on Taste and Speech” (news article, March 8):
The controversy over the word “vagina” and its use in a reading by high school students of a selection from “The Vagina Monologues” calls to mind the current widespread censorship of the “The Higher Power of Lucky,” a Newbery Medal-winning children’s book, for its use of the word “scrotum.”

I understand the impulse that parents and school authorities have to “protect” children. As a parent, I certainly wish I could keep my son young and innocent for as long as possible, especially now when children are forced to grow up and confront adult issues and matters much earlier than before.

Still, if we, as adults, put forward the correct words for our body parts for even the youngest children, that may help lessen the use of the much more vulgar slang terms kids are more apt to use.

If we used the correct terminology to demystify and talk about our bodies, that could help defuse our hypersexualized society, which is much more harmful to our children than any particular anatomical term.

Beth Kneller Brooklyn, March 8, 2007

To the Editor:
The events leading to the suspension of three high school girls for saying the word “vagina” in a reading from a play that a New York Times reviewer called “probably the most important piece of political theater of the last decade” are beyond appalling.

Let’s be clear about this. This is not about insubordination, but about heavy-handed censorship. Whether the girls did (or, as they maintain, did not) agree to avoid the word, the principal’s actions before and after the reading were unconscionable.

Publishers take prior restraint very seriously, and when that prior restraint is to prevent the utterance of a medically correct term for a female body part, we say, “Enough!”

We would be delighted to send the principal some excellent books about free speech — including the First Amendment rights of students — as well as books on human anatomy, all published by our members.

Pat Schroeder Washington, March 9, 2007

The writer, a former Democratic representative from Colorado, is president and chief executive of the Association of American Publishers.

To the Editor:
A few weeks ago it was “scrotum” that was causing an uproar in the world of children’s librarians. Now, in Westchester County, 16-year-old girls face punishment for uttering the word “vagina” when told not to.

Perhaps this culture’s sad hang-ups over sex can be traced to its refusal to call a penis a penis, a scrotum a scrotum, a vagina a vagina.

And perhaps other problems can similarly be linked to its fear of plain speaking, whereby failure is “success that hasn’t occurred yet,” catastrophe is “a heckuva job” and a lie is a “plan for victory.”

Too many adults are in deep denial. Maybe listening to our children isn’t such a bad idea.

Mark Hussey

Upper Nyack, N.Y., March 8, 2007

Would really love to here your thoughts about this one!!!!!!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Why are Veterans Being Ignored?

With the lack of urgency to appropriate disability funds for Veterans for the Iraq War, and the surge in homeless veterans upon us, why is there no public outcry to help these men and women?.
What political voice did these people have before the war? Why are they not being listened to now? Where is the outrage from congress? Why might some look upon complaining Vets as unpatriotic?
Why are veterans being ignored by Americans after they return home?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Homeless Heros

On this post we are going to try something different. I found the following post on someone elses blog. I am a firm believer that it isn't necessary to reinvent the wheel constantly. Lets read the linked post, and respond there. Please be respectful of each other, and identify yourself as a high school student at QHST.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Death to Some

Why should the same crime receive the death penalty in one town and not another?

What is the authors opoinion on the death penalty?

Where in the US Constitution is the death penalty a means afforded to the state?

Do people who commit horrible crimes deserve to die? Should the U.S. keep the death penalty?

The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says:

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

The Eighth Amendment protects the rights of Americans after they have been convicted of a crime.

It protects people from cruel and unusual punishment. Cruel and unusual punishment means a really horrible punishment like torture. It also means a punishment that does not fit the crime.

The Eighth Amendment makes sure that you do not go to jail for jay walking. It also makes sure that you do not go to prison for life for stealing a little money.

Is the death penalty a cruel and unusual punishment? Some people think so and they believe that the Constitution forbids it.

  1. According to the Eighth Amendment, what is a cruel and unusual punishment?
  2. Why do some people think the death penalty is a good idea?
  3. Why do some people think the death penalty is a bad idea?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Do we have a right to "marraige"?

Should Art in Public places be regulated by government oversight?
Is "art" protected under the first amendment?
Do all members of society deserve equal protection under the law?
Are all people under the law equal?
What is the legal argument against gay marriage?