Students at a Toronto high school protested the expulsion of five students, who posted derogatory comments about the school’s vice principal on facebook. The protest started at 8:30 a.m. with about 100 people waving signs and soliciting honks from passing motorists as police watched.
One of the students, Brad Parsons, 16, organized the protest. “It’s freedom of speech,” said Parsons. “Can’t he share his opinion with the world?” said another student. Parsons was suspended due to a new policy against cyber bullying, which is the latest euphemism for censorship. Like so many other rules, these government bureaucrats are using the law in unexpected ways. There is a difference between bullying a fellow student and criticizing a government bureaucrat. In one part of Toronto, it is now illegal to criticize the people who work at the local schools. You can submit a comment card about employees at the local grocery store, or a post a comment about a business on a website, but don’t try to ridicule anyone at your local “school.” Later in the morning, the protest crowd increased to about 300 after someone pulled a fire alarm in the school. About 40 students moved into the street and about 10 police cars showed up to disperse the crowd. As the police understandably tried to clear the road, some students unfortunately started to toss objects and then police started to arrest people. Then some people started hitting the officers. By the end of the incident, five students were arrested. It was a distressing end to a legitimate protest.
It would be understandable for a private school to expel a student who posted derogatory comments about a school employee. But this Toronto school is run by the government, which should not be allowed to censor a citizen for the same reason a government post office or bus system is not allowed to censor it’s “customers.” Government bureaucrats should be not a privileged, protected class of people.
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