On April 23, I posted Going Loco With In Loco Parentis, the story of two students of the Lacey Township School District in New Jersey who made the serious mistake of posting on social media a photo of several firearms they used on a trip to a shooting range with their parents. They were suspended, and members of the school board offered up justifications such as “Parkland!” and “guns!”
I ended that article with this:
It would appear the Lacey Township School Board is going to be very much under public scrutiny for the immediate future. This is good for democracy, and school children.
It would appear I somewhat underestimated the outrage of the public—the school board and school officials surely have—and just how dense and Leftist those hapless edcrats are. App.com reports:
An attorney for the school board offered a public apology Monday after he was accused by some residents of calling them ‘the chicken gallery’ at a meeting last month about student discipline and gun rights.
Attorney Christopher Supsie’s comment in March ignited fury in Lacey and led to a Facebook page called the ‘Lacey Twp. BOE Chicken Gallery.’
‘At that time, I regretfully made an emotionally charged comment directed toward certain members of the public,’ Supsie read in a prepared statement during the school board meeting in Lacey Township High School.
‘I grew up around hunters and I learned to appreciate and respect the virtues of responsible gun ownership,’ he said in is statement.
Oh, I see Mr. Supsie. You’re an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment, and “appreciate and respect the virtues of responsible gun ownership.” That’s what caused you make an “emotionally charged comment” about the people who virtuously practice responsible gun ownership. I suspect the members of the “chicken gallery” are as convinced of Mr. Supsie’s sincerity as am I.
If I had it my way right now, I would recall every member of this board,’ said Frank Horvath, one of a committee of three people who are using the incident as reason to launch a recall effort of the longest-serving member of the school board.
Horvath, Amanda Buron and Valerie Jones have filed their notice of intention to recall board member Linda A. Downing, who has served on the board for more than two decades.
Horvath and Buron spoke at Monday’s meeting, saying current school policy unjustly codifies the punishment of students who legally use guns, a right protected under the Second Amendment.
Downing, a retired educator, said she was hurt and angry about the recall petition. She noted that school policy was adopted based on suggestions from an outside firm hired by school districts across the state.
‘I did nothing wrong,’ Downing said during Monday’s meeting. ‘I am extremely passionate about the safety of our students.
It would seem Horvath and Buron are correct. Downing may feel as hurt as she likes, but she is a politician, and recall petitions are part of the business. One may also be as passionate as they please, but may not usurp the rights of students and parents. She seems, even though the board was forced to back down in this case, unable to appreciate the clear border between school authority and the law and parental rights. She also seems, in her 20+ years on the school board, to have come to think herself entitled to that position. She seems just another minor league politician who has forgotten for whom she works.
Supsie, the board attorney, said that school administrators are also obligated to investigate every incident involving a student and a weapon.
What absolute nonsense. Of course school authorities have this obligation, but only on school property, on school time, and/or if there is a legitimate, articulable reason to believe a student might be unlawfully bringing a gun to school or might attack a school. A photograph of a few guns a few students fired during a trip to the range is none of the business of Mr. Supsie or any school officials. They don’t own the children they teach. They merely have a duty of care when the children are at school. Should every student that owns a firearm be investigated by the school political purity police? Mr. Supsie and Ms. Downing surely seem to think so.
Superintendent Craig Wigley said that in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida, shooting, the country is in a ‘a heightened time of sensitivity’ in responding to weapons concerns.
Wigley would not discuss personal student matters, but said no students were punished under the district’s weapons policies. Board member Tom DeBlass said the students were punished under the school’s social media policies.
For rational people, Parkland was an aberration, not a common occurrence sparking “a heightened time of sensitivity.” School shootings are not increasing, and they remain remarkable primarily because of their rarity. In any case, a shooting occurring in a distant state has no relationship to an entirely harmless photograph of a few guns.
Mr. DeBlass appears to be, according to every media source I’ve read on this situation, lying. The school district apparently punished the kids not because they used social media, but because of the guns. Superintendent Wigley’s comments indicate their true intentions. Would they have suspended the boys if they posted photographs of an anti-gun protest? It was not the posting, but the content. Schools do not have the authority, with a few possible, narrow exceptions, to regulate student’s social media content. And if this were a mere issue of social media policy, why did the school district back down and rescind the suspension?
Buron wants that changed, so that legal gun use is not a punishable offense for students.
‘We have to have a balance between safety and rights,’ said Wigley, who invited community talks about school policy and student codes of conducts.
‘People are polarized,’ he said. ‘I’m comfortable to have that conversation and move forward.
Oh, I’m certain Mr. Wigley wants to “move forward.” But for his benefit, and the benefit of educrats and leftist school board politicians everywhere, I’ll explain the balance between rights and safety: genuine rights, and particularly express, fundamental, unalienable rights trump “safety” every time, particularly when such “safety” is a transparent political trick to damage or destroy fundamental rights.
People in Lacey Township are indeed “polarized,” but primarily because people like Wigley refuse to recognize their rights, and despite having backed down in this instance, have indicated they plan to continue violating the rights of the people that elected them and pay their salaries just as soon as they think the public isn’t looking, after everyone has moved forward.
It appears there is not going to be any “moving forward” until the public is certain there will not be any future usurpation of the Constitution. That’s democracy in action.