Friday, October 13, 2006

Parental Notification

A fourteen year old girl was pulled out of class by the Secret Service after she posted threatening remarks about President Bush on her blog. Federal law prohibits making death threats against the President. Apparently, the girl didn't know that. The parents admit they had no idea what she wrote and say what she did was wrong. But they are also upset with the school and the Secret Service.

The couple are disturbed, however, that federal agents questioned a child at school -- without her parents present. And First Amendment lawyers question whether the Secret Service over-reacted to a 14-year-old's comments on a Web site made for casual socializing.

"I don't condone what she did, but it seems a little over the top to me," said Julia's father, Jim Moose. "You'd think they could look at the situation and determine that she's not a credible threat."

I think after Columbine and 9/11 the bar is pretty low for a "credible threat." But why did it take the Secret Service coming to their home to notify them about what was on her blog? Why weren't they checking up on it themselves? As far as being upset the actions of the Secret Service, according to Assistant Principal Paul Belluomini,

he usually does not notify parents when law enforcement officials come to school to interview students. "Parents usually interfere with an investigation, so we usually don't notify them until it's done," he said.

Sacramento City Unified School District policy calls for parents to be notified but doesn't say whether it should happen before or after a student is interviewed. State law doesn't require parental notification.

"Parents usually interfere..."

Isn't that a comforting thought from a school administrator. Of course parents "interfere"! Isn't it their job to know what's going on with their children? But I guess the state has to be consistent, if they don't notify parents about mental exams, or abortion counseling, what harm could a little police interrogation do? Parents when will you finally understand the state is not your partner in public education, they're your boss?

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