It turns out that high school officials don’t really want students to seek out information, think critically or discuss ideas with classmates, writes Colby Cosh in the National Post. A high school student in Saskatchewan who discussed the health risks of marijuana with friends was threatened, suspended and accused indirectly of being a drug dealer.
(Kieran) King, who is in Grade 10 at a high school in tiny Wawota, Sask., started researching marijuana after he and his fellow students were given an audiovisual presentation about drugs earlier in the year.
. . . On May 30, Kieran, who is described as “research-obsessed” by his mother, was chatting with friends around the school lunch table and telling them about what he’d discovered, largely from scholarly and government sources. He argued that marijuana carries a near-zero risk of overdose, that it has been approved by Health Canada for medical use and that it kills an infinitesimal fraction of the people that alcohol and tobacco do every week — claims so uncontroversial you’d have to be high on something much stronger than pot to dispute them.
He also suggested that it doesn’t make much sense for marijuana to be illegal in a world where booze and smokes are freely available in shops.
A student told the principal, who told Kieran not to talk about marijuana on school premises.
. . . later she called his mother to warn her that “promoting drug use” would not be tolerated. According to the education director of the school division, she was also told “if there were any drugs brought into the school, the police could be involved.” One can almost hear the truncheon slapping against the open palm. Later on, when Kieran organized a brief free speech protest outside the school with the help of a few “cannabis culture” types, Wilson reacted by ordering a lockdown (remember, they’re not prisons!). When he walked out anyway to join supporters, he was suspended from school and a “threat assessment” was ordered (definitely not prisons!).
Superintendent Velda Weatherald claimed “there was an accusation” that Kieran may have been involved in selling drugs at the school.
This boy’s mother is a teacher. His father was killed by a drunk driver.
When my nephew was in fifth grade, he gave an “I Have a Dream” speech on Martin Luther King Day about his dream that one day marijuana would be legalized. There was no censorship or consequences.
Update: On a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that school officials can punish a student for advocating drug use by carrying a sign across the street from the school saying, “Bong Hits 4 Jesus.”