Big showdown in Mason, Ohio pitting two of my favorite societal archetypes – The Man and Those Damn Punk Kids – against each other in a tussle over an underage teenager’s inalienable right to use a cell phone to plan to use alcohol and illegal drugs after school. Students are claiming that teachers are seizing, without cause, their cell phones and reading through their text messages to try and ferret out illicit behavior. It’s not stated in the article, but I would imagine that the kids who are found to have incriminating messages on their phone are being disciplined in some way, which has led them to complain to their parents. And because the world is going to HELL ON A FUCKING BULLET TRAIN, those parents, instead of doing what I would do if my kid got in trouble because he’s planning on getting drunk or high at age 17 at someone’s house over the weekend (put him in one of these), have instead taken the brilliant step of getting the GD American Civil Liberties Union involved. And the ACLU somehow found time away from their assault on common sense and decency to take up the cause. The legal director of the ACLU Ohio, Jeffrey Gamso, fired off a sternly worded letter:
I think my favorite epistolary device employed by Jeffrey is how he begins the letter making a token attempt to acknowledge that there actually are two sides to this situation, and these flagrant, awful, Republic-threatening, brownshirt tactics have not been investigated or proven by his frequent use of the word “alleged.” But by the final paragraphs of the letter, it’s “our position is this policy and practice is undeniably unconstitutional and must cease…I am confident the Mason City School District has no interest in continuing to violate the rights of its students” (italics mine). So much for “alleged”! The school district has responded by explaining its cell phone seizure policy (if they go off in class, they take ’em) and further stated that fewer than a dozen cell phones have been seized in a school of 2,700 students.
So the ACLU acted before it had conducted a truly thorough investigation of the facts of the case, acted on intelligence from a questionable source, has listened to only one side of the argument, and responded in a patronizing and threatening fashion despite having such a shaky foundation…wow, I had no idea the ACLU and the Bush Administration had so much in common!