It seems yet another Virginia school district has displayed a warped sense of justice. Two teachers from Norview High of Norfolk, Virginia were suspended after distributing materials from the ‘Flex your Rights’ video that I’ve written about previously. The class in question was a 12th grade government class, so I find it reasonable, even desirable, that kids were being taught what their rights are during a police encounter. Too many American citizens are ignorant of their fundamental civil rights when it comes to police encounters, and since police are a figure of authority, they use this to their advantage in constant situations. I don’t think I need to mention the string of recent botched police encounters in our country to illustrate the fact that our schools should be teaching kids their rights as citizens of this country. High school is a time where kids are starting the very beginning of the long transition into adulthood and independence, especially high school seniors. When else better to educate these kids about the government they must live under? Should kids have to wait until college to learn these rights? Of course not! What about those who don’t go to college, or who attend a trade or vocational school? Kids need a comprehensive, applicable, real-world education. Most high schoolers are also inexperienced drivers, and they deserve to be taught their rights when/if stopped by police.
I read a quote from the complaining party in this whole mess that her granddaughter was being taught “how to hide drugs” in government class. I have seen the Flex your Rights video in its entirety twice, and I can say that the video does not ever teach people how to hide drugs. Instead, it teaches people how to minimize legal and physical harm during police encounters. I call that a public service that every American citizen should be entitled to.
If you don’t believe me, here’s the full video in four parts.
Also, please take a second to send a personal note to the school who has suspended these teachers to let them know how you feel about this action. For inspiration, here’s the message I sent:
“I am extremely disappointed to hear that your district has suspended two teachers for showing the “flex your rights” video at school. I have seen this video in its entirety twice and I find no conceivable reason why this video would be deemed inappropriate for a high school audience. Indeed, I believe that it’s vitally important to educate kids on what their rights are when encountering police. High school is a time of transitioning into adulthood. It’s a time when many students will become drivers for the first time, and when many, whether they break the law or not, will be subject to police encounters and inquires. With so many recent police mishaps and encounters gone bad, kids across the country desperately need to be educated on how to handle the always stressful possibility of a police encounter. I hope that you will issue an apology to the teachers and get them back to work immediately. This action that your district has taken is a blow against our first amendment, and indeed against our entire constitution.”