Not a threat

The California Supreme Court reversed the conviction of a 15-year-old San Jose boy who wrote a poem including the words, “For I can be the next kid to bring guns to kill students at school” and “For I am Dark, Destructive & Dangerous.” The poem wasn’t OK because it was artistic expression, say the justices. They just didn’t think the poem was a threat.

The case weighed free speech rights against the government’s responsibility to provide safe schools. The justices said school officials overreacted to the poem by the San Jose boy, identified as George T. in court records.

“What is readily apparent is that much of the poem plainly does not constitute a threat,” Justice Carlos Moreno wrote for the unanimous, seven-member court.

George T. was expelled from Santa Teresa High, and spent 100 days in a juvenile jail. He has no record of violence before or after writing the poem, which he showed to a classmate.

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  1. Oh well: Poets are supposed to suffer…

  2. Mad Scientist says:


    Reason rears it’s ugly head?

  3. Thank God the Court ruled this way!

  4. Richard Heddleson says:

    No, the court should have sent the administrator responsible to Juvy Hall for 100 days.

  5. Imagine the punishment those people would give to writers of gangsta rap.

    If the student has psychological problems, it would seem a mental health professional would be more appropriate help than a juvenile detention center.

  6. If a public school teacher were to encounter such writing and ignore it they would undoubtedly be held responsible were something to happen. The judge has no such worry. If this child were in your son or daughters class would you be happy about his 1st amendment rights being upheld, or concerned that this child may need help and potentially poses a threat to everyone in the building? We need to stop being an either/ or society and exercise some common sense by both carefully evaluating this type of child AND his family/home life along with assuring the safety of all the other members of this school community.

  7. blamanj says:

    Um, Dot. Believe it or not, the judges did take common sense approach.

    Justice Moreno added the caveat that schools do have the right to act for the protection of their students, and said the school officials’ reaction was understandable in light of the 1999 Columbine High School shootings and those that occurred in Santee, Calif. not long before the incident involving Julius.

    But the issue before the high court, he explained, was not the propriety of the school’s actions but only whether Julius had committed a crime.

  8. Khyberbowie says:

    Having a baccalaureat degreein criminal justice and having worked in both military and civilian police/law enforcement for 20+ years, although the school officials were right to question the boy’s actions, any competent administrator would have used available resources to determine whether a crime, i.e., an offense, had been committed and if so, what? What was the boy charged with? Having a morbid attitude! Being depresses? Sarcasm? Not only was he NOT charged with a crime, he was imprisioned for 100 days without even being arraigned! Sounds like grounds for a good “Violation of Civil Rights” is I ever heard one! Bureaucrats – can’t live with ’em and can’t get ’em to stop breeding.