Student rights: due for a change


Photo by Isabel Foley

Isabel Foley, Co-Editor in Chief

Student rights have been an issue since the Supreme Court ruled in 1969 that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” This debate has spread to C.M. Russell High School, where one student shares the court’s opinion.

“C.M. Russell High School has recently undergone changes in its treatment of students’ rights, and have consistently been trending toward infringement of student rights,” senior Adam Arthur said. “Many administrators and teachers have begun losing goodwill to their students.” 

 Arthur said the changes can be traced back to the incident last year in which a false report of a student with a firearm was made — resulting in a four-hour lockdown.

“That day many students were threatened with very real firearms, subjected to unforgivable public embarrassment including being forced to urinate in public spaces, and most unforgivably of all, unconstitutional searches of personal possessions by police under generalized suspicion,” he said, adding that the aftermath of the lockdown was not handled well.

“Far from apologizing for this, the school administration continued harassing students who stood up for their rights. And continued draconian measures to which all students are subjected,” Arthur said. 

Within the school there is a fear of threats, he said, though the school does seemingly nothing to address them. 

“An important part of our school’s culture has become ‘security theater.’  Very [public] measures to increase campus security that are more motivated by a desire to appear safe than to be safe,” he said, adding that an example of this is the new door system. Students constantly find themselves locked outside.

“Many students are unaware that the building has one unlocked door at all times, making the measures utterly ineffective at increasing security and incredibly effective at increasing student paranoia,” he said. It comes down to a lack of faith in students, he added. 

 “C. M. Russell High School has also in recent years lost a measure of goodwill to students. While previously I had lively positive conversations with several administrators whilst waiting indoors for a ride after the late conclusion of some of my extracurriculars,” Arthur said, “administrators [now] demand I wait outside in 10-degree weather, with the reason given being that having me in the building was a security risk.” 

He said that those in charge have lost the trust they once had for students

“Powers [of] CMR have little respect for student safety, let alone student rights, and far more [respect] for other factors.”