OK, not literally, but I can’t read this story and not think of the dark and morose song and video by Pink Floyd, “We Don’t Need No Education.” In the video, children are being marched through a factory line until they fall into a meat grinder. Meanwhile the chorus goes:
“We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!”
In the song, the issue is teachers who have their own problems at home, who take it out on students by humiliating them and beating them. In this case the issue involves teachers and administrators who not only suspended a child, Jared Marcum, for violating non-existent rules, but called in the police to get him arrested.
“A $500 fine and up to a year in jail, that’s the penalty that Jared could face, now that a judge has allowed the prosecution to move forward with it’s obstructing an officer charge against him… The Logan County Police Department initially claimed that the at-the-time 8th grade Logan Middle School student was arrested for disturbing the education process, obstructing an officer and Lardieri says that officers even went as far as threatening to charge Jared with making terroristic threats.”
Obstructing an officer? Because he refused to remove a T-shirt? Are police now empowered to tell people what they can wear? The charge is obviously just a license for judges to hammer on people for not being compliant enough. It is no more than a criminal law-version of the non-rule that got Jared suspended in the first place.
Jared was obviously confused. He thought he lived in a country known commonly as “America” where the government acknowledged a right to bear arms and the freedom of speech. He has discovered now that he lives in a dytopian perversion of that country. It is arguable that a school could suspend a student (though, again, they should have rules, not make them up on the spot), but getting the police involved to invent charges so they can lock a kid away for a year is just evil. There is no possible justification for it.
I am reminded of something the “Tory Anarchist” Albert Jay Nock wrote many years ago:
“Once, I remember, I ran across the case of a boy who had been sentenced to prison, a poor, scared little brat, who had intended something no worse than mischief, and it turned out to be a crime. The judge said he disliked to sentence the lad; it seemed the wrong thing to do; but the law left him no option. I was struck by this. The judge, then, was doing something as an official that he would not dream of doing as a man; and he could do it without any sense of responsibility, or discomfort, simply because he was acting as an official and not as a man. On this principle of action, it seemed to me that one could commit almost any kind of crime without getting into trouble with one’s conscience. Clearly, a great crime had been committed against this boy; yet nobody who had had a hand in it — the judge, the jury, the prosecutor, the complaining witness, the policemen and jailers — felt any responsibility about it, because they were not acting as men, but as officials. Clearly, too, the public did not regard them as criminals, but rather as upright and conscientious men. The idea came to me then, vaguely but unmistakably, that if the primary intention of government was not to abolish crime but merely to monopolize crime, no better device could be found for doing it than the inculcation of precisely this frame of mind in the officials and in the public; for the effect of this was to exempt both from any allegiance to those sanctions of humanity or decency which anyone of either class, acting as an individual, would have felt himself bound to respect — nay, would have wished to respect.”
Abducting a fourteen-year-old from his home to be held captive for a year is a criminal act. Justifying such a crime because he wore a t-shirt school officials wanted him to remove adds insult to injury.
The teachers, school administrators, police, and judge, should have left the child alone.