Apathy and the First Amendment

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by CSM, Feb 1, 2005.

  1. CSM
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    CSM Senior Member

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    First Amendment No Big Deal, Students Say

    Mon Jan 31,11:55 PM ET U.S. National - AP

    By BEN FELLER, AP Education Writer

    WASHINGTON - The way many high school students see it, government censorship of newspapers may not be a bad thing, and flag burning is hardly protected free speech.

    It turns out the First Amendment is a second-rate issue to many of those nearing their own adult independence, according to a study of high school attitudes released Monday.

    The original amendment to the Constitution is the cornerstone of the way of life in the United States, promising citizens the freedoms of religion, speech, press and assembly.

    Yet, when told of the exact text of the First Amendment, more than one in three high school students said it goes "too far" in the rights it guarantees. Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories.

    "These results are not only disturbing; they are dangerous," said Hodding Carter III, president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which sponsored the $1 million study. "Ignorance about the basics of this free society is a danger to our nation's future."

    The students are even more restrictive in their views than their elders, the study says.

    When asked whether people should be allowed to express unpopular views, 97 percent of teachers and 99 percent of school principals said yes. Only 83 percent of students did.

    The results reflected indifference, with almost three in four students saying they took the First Amendment for granted or didn't know how they felt about it. It was also clear that many students do not understand what is protected by the bedrock of the Bill of Rights.
    Three in four students said flag burning is illegal. It's not. About half the students said the government can restrict any indecent material on the Internet. It can't.

    "Schools don't do enough to teach the First Amendment. Students often don't know the rights it protects," Linda Puntney, executive director of the Journalism Education Association, said in the report. "This all comes at a time when there is decreasing passion for much of anything. And, you have to be passionate about the First Amendment."

    The partners in the project, including organizations of newspaper editors and radio and television news directors, share a clear advocacy for First Amendment issues.

    Federal and state officials, meanwhile, have bemoaned a lack of knowledge of U.S. civics and history among young people. Sen. Robert Byrd (news, bio, voting record), D-W.Va., has even pushed through a mandate that schools must teach about the Constitution on Sept. 17, the date it was signed in 1787.

    The survey, conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut, is billed as the largest of its kind. More than 100,000 students, nearly 8,000 teachers and more than 500 administrators at 544 public and private high schools took part in early 2004.

    The study suggests that students embrace First Amendment freedoms if they are taught about them and given a chance to practice them, but schools don't make the matter a priority.

    Students who take part in school media activities, such as a student newspapers or TV production, are much more likely to support expression of unpopular views, for example.

    About nine in 10 principals said it is important for all students to learn some journalism skills, but most administrators say a lack of money limits their media offerings.

    More than one in five schools offer no student media opportunities; of the high schools that do not offer student newspapers, 40 percent have eliminated them in the last five years.

    "The last 15 years have not been a golden era for student media," said Warren Watson, director of the J-Ideas project at Ball State University in Indiana. "Programs are under siege or dying from neglect. Many students do not get the opportunity to practice our basic freedoms."


    This is a PRIME example of what is wrong with our country today. Our young folks have no frickkin idea what the Constitution is or what it does for them as citizens. What is worse, 3 out of 4 dont care!
     
  2. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    Maybe both D's and R's can put together a bill about this.
     
  3. no1tovote4
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    no1tovote4 VIP Member

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    Our mandatory Civics classes taught us much. Now that they are no longer Mandatory in many places it seems that future Generations have lost something important.

    We need to make sure that this doesn't happen in the future by once again teaching Mandatory classes on the reasons those Rights exist and how they work.
     
  4. Mr. P
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    Mr. P Senior Member

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    I'll be asking my Daughter about this when she get's home today..17, 11th grade..
     
  5. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I agree. Civics is not taught. I use three supplemental sources, one provides textbooks:

    http://www.crf-usa.org/lessons.html

    http://www.civnet.org/

    http://www.civiced.org/index.php
     
  6. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Sometimes it appears to me that ignorance of the law may be a result of how complicated they to interpret. So complicated in fact that it by default necessitates the procurement of an attorney to explain them to even adults. I understand that we're talking about the Constitution here but when the legal format in our country is nearly a foriegn language that requires one to pay for an interpretation it can certainly make a teen throw up his/her hands and say "I'll just take my chances " until the first time they get screwed by one of em.
    I can think of a whole lot of teachers that I DON'T want explaining the law of our land to my son.
     
  7. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    Let's look beyond what principals and teachers say and look at what they do. Can you name a high school which truly practices free speech? I can't.

    Can you name a college or university which encourages true free speech? None come to my mind. Matter of fact, quite the opposite is true on most campuses. They are imbued with speech restrictions formulated and implemented by the leftist idiots who run these asylums. They have developed these restrictions to free speech in deference to political correctness. Criticize a woman, you're a sexist pig. Criticize a black, a hispanic or an asian person and you're a racist bigot. Criticize a homosexual and you're an insensitive homophobe. Universities have been responsible for sacrificing the free speech rights of their students on the altar of "diversity" and "tolerance".

    So it is not too difficult to understand why high school students are not too concerned about free speech. First, the education these students receive has been so watered down that they no longer have an appreciation or understanding of history. Second, students are brow beaten about proper, politically correct speech. They quickly come to realize that any unpopular opinion quickly results in being characterized as "hate" speech and the person who expresses such opinions is labelled as an insensitive, sexist, racist, homophobic, right-wing religous nut.

    I think that there is a groundswell of conservatism beginning to rise at the high school level. Young people are beginning to realize that the government does NOT know best. They are beginning to understand that equal opportunity means the right to compete without bias - not the right to be given preferential treatment because one is a member of a minority group currently favored by the government. I believe that they understand that the right to express an idea is far more important than the contrived "right" of some thin-skinned ass not to be offended by it.

    I believe that young people will see the fallacy and the danger of politically correct speech codes and rebel against them.

    So I believe that the true hazard to the first amendment lies with those who are currently the teachers and administrators of our schools. I believe that a generation is coming up that will throw these ridiculous concepts back into the surprised faces of those who today think they are sitting in the cat bird's seat.
     
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  8. CSM
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    CSM Senior Member

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    I sincerely hope you are correct.
     
  9. CivilLiberty
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    CivilLiberty Active Member

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    This is really sad.

    My father, a former Marine, hammered the constitution into me from an early age. It is, no doubt, why today I am so outspoken about it. And that the nation of tomorrow will not care is frightening.

    It can in some cases. Ashcroft went on a rampage as AG shutting down sites like this one:

    www.GirlsPooping.com


    Andy
     
  10. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    DAMN! ! !

    Is there NO ONE who will stop these right-wing christo-fascists in their unending quest to destroy our culture? ? ?
     

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