There’s an entertaining account of a recent speech by Judge Richard Posner on the Education Week Web site. Apparently, he thinks high school students are too “spolied and coddled” and they have “excessive self-esteem” and their parents are “aggressive.” And that’s why they keep suing and threatening to sue their high schools every time they disagree with a grade or a rule. He thinks that students should quit being offended by every display of the Ten Commandments or any mention of religion and that more deference should be given to school administrators.
I tend to agree with him on most of this. But when deference is given to school administrators, the religious kids are the ones who usually get the short end of the stick. I remember years ago writing about the case of a kindergartner who when the kids were asked to share their favorite story was barred from reading a story from the Bible. Perhaps it’s because administrators fear lawsuits all the time that they go to such extraordinary lengths to be politically correct. And who knows? Now that groups like the Alliance Defense Fund and others have sued enough times from the other side, administrators will be wary of offending them too.
Of all the cases he mentions, I have always found the T-shirt lawsuits to be particularly inane. Posner says that we should allow kids to wear the “Be Happy Not Gay” T-shirts (or its liberal alternative) because they will be exposed to a variety of viewpoints that way. T-shirts are not a way to expose kids to viewpoints. (Neither are tattoos, while we’re at it). I’d really much prefer to ban message T-shirts altogether. But the coddled kids and their aggressive parents would probably be upset over that too.