Thursday, June 04, 2009

Student caps speech with pot smoke

From the News Tribune via the Houston Chronicle:

TACOMA, Wash. — The teachers wanted persuasive.

And they got it.

At the end of his speech Tuesday urging legalization of marijuana, a 17-year-old Peninsula High School student pulled out a joint, lit it and smoked away. Then he ate the remains.

For that he got a quick escort to the school office and then a ride to Remann Hall juvenile jail.

The stunt was celebrated among some of the teen’s peers but was frowned on to say the least by law enforcement officers and district administrators.

“We believe in freedom of speech and encourage it, but illegal activities are absolutely not going to be tolerated in our district,” schools Superintendent Terry Bouck said.

Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said, “If people want that law changed, they need to go about it the right way.”

He did acknowledge, though, that the student’s action will prompt discussion.

“It sure will probably bring a lot of attention to the issue,” Troyer said.

More here.

Wow, man, talk about balls.

Gotta hand it to this kid. In addition to performing a very nicely executed high school stunt that his classmates will be reminiscing about for decades to come, Teen Pot Smoker single-handedly managed to get his issue into the national news. I mean okay, legalization has been around the corporate news media's fringes for the last few weeks or so, anyway, but still, this is a good piece of agit-prop, worthy of activists much more experienced.

Here's an interesting regional difference within the authoritarian indoctrination institution known as "public school." If this had taken place at the high school where I used to teach in Baytown, Texas, Teen Pot Smoker's action would have been thoroughly criticized by everybody. There would have been no lip service paid to the notion of freedom of speech, no acknowledgement that his act of civil disobedience would be effective in promoting thought and discussion. No relevance to this student's 3.7 g.p.a., which is mentioned later in the article, although, to be fair, making a 3.7 in high school isn't like rocket science or anything. But I guess that's the difference between far-right conservative Texas and relatively liberal Washington: both states' educational apparatuses are about authority and obedience, but the way this mandate is administered reflects the respective social outlooks of the two regions--Texas is harsh; Washington is kinder and gentler. I mean, the kid gets busted and condemned in either state, but the so-called "Blue State" response is more nuanced and subtler.

At any rate, every now and then, actual learning accidentally takes place in the public schools, in spite of the imposed ignorance mission pursued by all these institutions. It is interesting to note that this particular lesson was taught by a student, rather than by the propagandists/indoctrinators also known as "teachers."