Unlawful overreach aka abuse of authority is a direct assault against the Constitutionally protected rights and freedoms of everyone in the United States of America.
Alexandria Keys, 17, was suspended for five days in mid-October, 2019, from Endeavor Academy high school in Centennial, Colorado, after she posted pictures of herself and her older brother at a local firing range. Source
You CANNOT suspend a student for:
- a lawful activity
- protected by the U.S. Constitution
- occurred off campus
- occurred after school hours
- posted to widespread social media
“According to the school, social media posts made by Keyes ‘concerned the school community and resulted in multiple parents keeping their kids home from school out of concern for safety.’ “
This single statement alone highlights precisely what’s wrong in the hearts and minds of those involved. If some members in the community find it alarming, then it’s the responsibility of the school officials to educate the community that it was a lawful activity conducted with family, protected by the Constitution, occurring off-campus, after hours and not associated with any school function.
Other people’s ignorance, stupidity, and irrational fears do NOT constitute lawful grounds to infringe on the rights of others.
I’ll say it again: The irrational fears of a few parents or even a school board, administrator or official DO NOT override the law, and for good reason: Such is an affront to the good order and sound discipline of society as a whole.
Frankly, the school official who signed the suspension slip was not acting in accordance with the law. In fact, that official broke multiple laws.
Let’s examine the law, here:
Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Her activity at the firing range is covered under “freedom of expression (speech).” Her figure gesture, while distasteful, is covered. Her posting pictures in a public venue is covered. All were lawful activities.
Amendment II: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Again, her activity at the firing range is not only covered, but thoroughly protected against infringement. She was with her older brother, an adult
C.R.S. 22-33-106. Grounds for suspension, expulsion, and denial of admission, (1)(c) Behavior on or off school property that is detrimental to the welfare or safety of other pupils or of school personnel, including behavior that creates a threat of physical harm to the child or to other children…
Statement: Despite the school’s assertions to the contrary, Alexandria Keyes did NOT violate C.R.S. 22-33-106(1)(c).
C.R.S. 22-33-106 (1)(c) appears to be what they’re using as grounds for suspension, as there’s nothing else even remotely applicable. However, when we examine C.R.S. 106(1)(c) in context, we find it’s not applicable.
The phrase “on or off school property” is not a license for school officials to intrude into the private lives of school kids and their families. There have been countless court cases sending school officials scurrying back to the classroom because anything else would have been unlawful intrusions.
Rather, C.R.S. 22-33-106(1)(c) covers school-specific events, including those conducted in locations “off school property.” Furthermore, this context is clearly and abundantly established by other phrases throughout C.R.S. 22-33-106:
- on school grounds
- in a school vehicle
- at a school activity
- at a school … sanctioned event
- to the welfare or safety of other pupils or of school personnel (where do we find this? On school grounds or at school-sanctioned events)
- on school grounds, in a school vehicle, or at a school activity or sanctioned event
- on school grounds, in a school vehicle, or at a school activity or sanctioned event
- in a school building or in or on school property
- on school property for either a school-related or a nonschool-related activity
- to a school
- at a school
Folks, the message is undeniably clear. C.R.S. 22-33-106(1)(c) covers activities and behaviors on school grounds or at school-sanctioned events. This includes (c)’s “…on or off school property…”. That, too, requires the concurrence of a school activity, a school-sanctioned event, or in a school vehicle.
C.R.S. 22-33-106(1)(c) does not give either school boards or any school administration officials any right, jurisdiction, or authority whatsoever to discipline any student for any behavior — much less lawful behavior — conducted off school grounds, after hours, with family, etc.
But there’s one more point…
Endeavor Academy’s student handbook for the 2019-2020 school year gives the school broad discretionary power when choosing to suspend students for weapon-related instances. The handbook states that when a student’s behavior involving a weapon off school property is thought to “[have] a reasonable connection to school or any district curricular or non-curricular event” and is “detrimental to the safety and welfare of the student, other students and school personnel,” that the school may refer a student for “appropriate disciplinary proceedings.”
Sorry, there, Endeavor and its school system, but your “interpretation” of state law is WRONG.
You see, this is the problem. Despite the fact that the law is undeniably clear, you just cannot resist grabbing more control over the lives of others, so you focus on just five words — “…on or off school property…” — taking them totally out of all “school grounds/vehicle/activity/event” context, and stick your damned fingers and noses where they don’t belong, in the private lives of others who are doing no harm. Moreover, you harm them, and in so doing, you harm all of us.
Here’s a cheery thought: KNOCK IT OFF
The behavior of both the “multiple parents” as well as the school officials who suspended Alexandria Keys is worse than stupid. It’s damned ignorant, precisely the same as the townspeople who were after Shrek with torches and pitchforks simply because he was big, scary, and had different colored skin.
That’s not the way things work in these United States. Both students and their families have private lives, separate and apart from any authority given to educators. Engaging in a lawful activity, particularly one that’s protected by our United States Constitution, is not, can not, and shall not ever be wrongfully used as an excuse for Heinous and Unlawful Overreach by School Officials and Administrators.
I’ve never sued anyone. In this case, however, I very sincerely hope her parents sue the snot out of the individual who signed the suspension slip, his or her boss, the principle, the school board, and the city or county. Those responsible absolutely must be taught a lesson, with their noses rubbed in it for good measure. Their actions severely infringe on the rights of all students and families and they should be punished, not only for their own wrong-doing but also as an outward sign to all other school officials here in Colorado who wrongly believe they can get away with it themselves. If it takes bankrupting that school system to make that message loud and clear, so be it. They brought it on themselves, first by electing idiots to the school board and second, but choosing to be “alarmed” by normal, common, and lawful activity in which at least a quarter of all Coloradans engage on a regular basis.
Frankly, I hope the individual who suspended the student is himself or herself suspended without pay effective immediately and for a period of not less than one month and not more than three. Perhaps that might be enough to re-cage their gyros with respect to what the law says, what it doesn’t say, and their obligation to follow the law as it is written, not as they “interpret” it.
Finally, this incident should serve as a severe reprimand to the few parents who overreacted out of ignorant fear, not facts. No one’s rights end just because another person or even a group of people choose to react in ignorance, foolishness, fear and stupidity. If such buffoonery were allowed, rioting would be lawful. It’s not, and neither is your buffoonery.
That’s not how we do things in the United States of America.
Again, we must stop this insanity before schools start suspending students for posting pictures of their Bar Mitzvahs, pool parties, and birthdays. “Oh, Johnny got a new car? That’s not “fair” to the other students, Johnny — you’re suspended.”
Here’s a better term, one which school officials should get used to hearing when they break the law or violate the rights of their students: