Rules differ for parents and students

It is difficult not to notice the difference. The liberal school board in Duval County requires parents to control their behavior. But it allows kids to go wild. 

The board has a policy on audience conduct during board meetings. It prohibits applause and displaying signs. 

But the board has been getting larger audiences at its meetings as more parents become involved over concerns about woke activities in the schools. A group called Moms for Liberty has become especially attentive.  

Apparently, the additional scrutiny is not especially welcome, so additional controls on audiences have been put into place to mute the enthusiasm of those practicing democracy. 

That’s fine. Meetings should not be unruly. 

It is, however, noteworthy that by a vote of 6-1 the board this month reversed a previous policy regarding student conduct concerning protests. Not that it was enforced previously anyway: Six recent protests were facilitated by the school administration. 

But, on paper, political protests were prohibited. Now they are welcomed; some might say encouraged. 

As long as students are ditching classes to support BLM — a violence-supporting, police-hating Marxist organization – or hold a screaming protest against the Supreme Court’s long-overdue landmark decision correcting the law on abortion, presumably everything is A-OK under the new rule. 

Likely, a right-to-life demonstration or MAGA rally would quickly be curtailed. 

Citizen Harriet Vazquez alerted Eye on Jacksonville to the rule change. She is a parent who has been thinking about running for the school board. With three children, none yet old enough for school, she is concerned about what they will face in a few years given the current state of government education and she has studied the problem in depth. 

At the board meeting, Vazquez was one of several parents protesting the protest rule. She pointed out to the board members that students could protest outside of school, but they couldn’t get an education outside of school. It made no sense to allow students to leave school to protest, she said. 

Other parents opposed to the rule change regarding students pointed out that nationally recognized training materials for education professionals instruct that walkout protests are acts of civil disobedience no educator should join no matter how strongly he might feel on the subject, at least in part because “students with differing views might feel alienated or compelled to participate against their will if school officials are perceived as supporting the protest.”  

Test scores also suggest students can not easily afford to eschew any seat time in the classroom, where they are supposed to be educated, not indoctrinated. 

In defense of the pro-protest policy, the administration’s lawyer says students have a constitutional right to protest. 

Does that mean they can bring their guns to school also? 

Of course not. Adults have a right and a responsibility to supervise children, as Supreme Court Justice Byron “Whizzer” White pointed out in a 1988 decision. 

“First Amendment rights of students in the public schools are not automatically coextensive with the rights of adults in other settings and must be applied in light of the special characteristics of the school environment,” White wrote. “A school need not tolerate student speech that is inconsistent with its basic educational mission, even though the government could not censor similar speech outside the school.” 

Lloyd Brown

Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.


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