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School & District Management Opinion

No Groping Please

By Greg Jobin-Leeds — February 27, 2012 2 min read
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This next piece is by Bryant Muldrew, a leader in the National Student Bill of Rights Movement. I met Bryant in Washington at the National Opportunity to Learn Summit. At the conference, he was a powerful advocate for student´s voices and insisted they be heard. I approached Bryant and asked if he would share his ideas with the Democracy and Education community. Below, he shares with us how poorly many of our children are being treated.


No Groping Please
By Bryant Muldrew

By the title of this blog you might assume that this blog is about an experience travelling by train or plane; however, this is about an experience in a local high school in Maryland.
On Feb 9th, I received a text message from a student I work with at Heritage High School saying, there was a large line of student being patted down and searched by police officers. It was as if the school transformed into an airport and each student was a potential threat to the lift off of the educational processes of that day.

Now understand that I’m a student teacher who works for the Baltimore Algebra Project. My organization is contracted by the school to assist with mathematics. My student felt the need to inform me because of how serious the situation was. Do the police have the right to search everyone in order to find who has a weapon?

What about a person’s right not to be groped? Is it reasonable to violate that right to catch a potential danger?

We are on a slippery slope to a police state where youth are subject to random pat downs at a place the law requires them to be. This is completely unacceptable!

To make matters worse, when I asked other students about the situation, they told me that many of them snuck in the back doors of the school because they did not want to be groped. Many accepted the fact that they had to be searched without just cause because they felt powerless to control the situation.

It is a tragedy that students would have to sneak into a place where they are supposed to be comfortable.

I’m telling this story because I’m the national coordinator of the National Student Bill of Rights movement. Right # 5 in the National Student bill of Rights reads:

STUDENTS AND YOUTH SHALL BE SECURE FROM ARBITRARY POLICE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES AND FROM ARBITRARY ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS WITHOUT WARRANTS.

This right was violated! Students were searched without warrants and their lighters were taken as well. Now I don’t support underage smoking, but I am totally opposed to young people’s rights being violated for any reason.

At what point do we as young people say we’ve had enough? At what point do we reserve and execute our rights?

There is a real need for this movement and I will not rest until our rights as young people are no longer violated!

Check out this video:

You can see the draft Student Bill of Rights here.(Note that our new home is at Daily Kos)

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