May 5, 2017

"Four California high school students who were suspended for 'liking' and commenting on racist Instagram posts have filed a federal lawsuit..."

"... alleging administrators paraded them through the school and allowed their classmates to berate them as part of a 'healing' exercise" (WaPo).
The plaintiffs were among more than a dozen students at Albany High School who were accused of “liking” or commenting on the posts, which showed pictures of female African American classmates and the girls basketball coach with nooses drawn around their necks. Other images showed the girls next to photos of apes....

The lawsuit alleged that the plaintiffs, all juniors, were wrongfully suspended by the school... When the students returned on March 30, the lawsuit said, administrators forced them to march through the school while their peers tormented them. “School administrators allowed the student body to hurl obscenities, scream profanities, and jeer at the Plaintiffs and the other suspended students, who were all not allowed to leave what the school considered an act of ‘atonement’ but was rather a thinly veiled form of public shaming,” the lawsuit said....
I'd like to know more about what that "forced march" was. The text — based on the complaint in the lawsuit — made me (at first) picture a formal exercise of requiring the students to walk past assembled classmates who were encouraged and expected to all take their verbal shots at them — a words-only version of running the gauntlet.



But I tend to doubt that's exactly what happened. Anyway, I wonder what's so terrible about creating a forum for the other students to use speech to express their opinions. Isn't that the "more speech" remedy proponents of the First Amendment normally say is preferred? Why isn't this exactly the kind of response schools should use (rather than suspension, which was also done here)?

There's also an issue here about the speech taking place outside of school. Can schools discipline students for attacks they make on each other in social media? And there's an issue of whether depicting a person with a noose around her neck amounts to a true threat (true threats are not protected speech in First Amendment doctrine).

180 comments:

John said...

They should have just started a "he is a cock holster" instagram page and they would have been fine.

Nonapod said...

Does shaming and humiliating racists stop them from being racist? Or does it make them even more embittered?

John said...

Does shaming and humiliating racists stop them from being racist? Or does it make them even more embittered?

Depends on the racist. What it does do is deter other people from wanting to be racists. That is until it is overused. At some point if you shame and humiliate enough and with less and less justification, people get tired of hearing it and the charge starts to lose its meaning. That is where we are it in this country. And once the charge loses its meaning, it just because a way to rebel and to tell polite society to go to hell. If your plan was to make racism cool and desirable to young people, you couldn't have done better than what the SJWs are actually doing.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Althouse wrote:
"Anyway, I wonder what's so terrible about creating a forum for the other students to use speech to express their opinions. Isn't that the "more speech" remedy proponents of the First Amendment normally say is preferred? Why isn't this exactly the kind of response schools should use (rather than suspension, which was also done here)?"



On March 30, the plaintiffs and other suspended students attended another “restorative justice” session where a few hundred protesters gathered outside. They allege administrators failed to get sufficient security to escort them out of the building, leading to two suspended students being physically assaulted, with one suffering a broken nose, the lawsuit alleges.

“Several of the students and parents were forced to hide in locked vehicles to prevent themselves from being the victims of further violence,” the plaintiffs allege.

The next day, the suspended students were allowed 20 days of independent study if they didn’t feel safe at school, according to the lawsuit, while others returned with bodyguards provided by the district.

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/05/04/albany-boys-claim-they-were-subjected-to-public-shaming-violence-following-racist-instagram-incident/

Total minority enrollment at Albany High School is 62%.
https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/california/districts/albany-city-unified/albany-high-1724

YoungHegelian said...

School administrators allowed the student body to hurl obscenities, scream profanities, and jeer at the Plaintiffs and the other suspended students, who were all not allowed to leave what the school considered an act of ‘atonement’ but was rather a thinly veiled form of public shaming,”

I hope that the minority students remember this well, because next to get hauled up for their Instagram postings will be the black guys for 'ho, bitch & faggot and the Latino guys for maricon & mayate.

The Revolution starts eating its own in no time ah-tall.

Lewis Wetzel said...

I wonder what kind of "due process" these students received before the "public shaming" Althouse apparently approves of? This was state-sponsored, state-directed "free speech."

Todd said...

Of what concern is it of the school's how students exercise their free-speech rights especially when it is not "in" school? Them interacting on Instagram has nothing to do with what is school responsibility. I would think that alone is grounds for to sue.

To then hold them up for public ridicule, how is that not child abuse?

Also, where does the school get the authority? The student who created the images — not named in the lawsuit — was suspended. Why? Again, of what concern is it of the school's?

“This action arises out of a private online discussion between friends that the Albany School system has pried into without authority,” the lawsuit said. “All conduct at issue in this matter occurred off school property, were conducted off school hours, and were otherwise completely unrelated to school activity.”

Apparently CA ED is now scheduling "10 minutes of hate" events for those that practice "wrong think". How 1984 of them.

Tarrou said...

Why not just flog them in the stocks, or burn them at the stake? That's the whole end goal here.


Public school is child abuse. Universities are violent marxist indoc centers. Anyone who sends a child to one of these institutions is responsible for whatever else results.

Matthew Sablan said...

I cannot possibly see how the school thought: "You know what would be a good idea? Say: 'Your classmates are racist,' and then throw those classmates at the other kids' mercy."

Have they not read Lord of the Flies?

Ann Althouse said...

School is full of public shaming and always has been. When do you get to hale the teachers and administrators into court and extract money from them?

Now, I think the students who bullied the bullies should also be publicly shamed, and I certainly think all the physical acts of violence should be punished.

Jack Wayne said...

Gantlet or Gauntlet? I choose gantlet as running a glove doesn't sound very intimidating.

rhhardin said...

It's not liking nooses but kids rebelling against political correctness.

The more-speech remedy misunderstands that, which is more a form of silencing speech.

MayBee said...

Anyway, I wonder what's so terrible about creating a forum for the other students to use speech to express their opinions. Isn't that the "more speech" remedy proponents of the First Amendment normally say is preferred? Why isn't this exactly the kind of response schools should use (rather than suspension, which was also done here)?


Do you mean creating a forum for people to publicly taunt the students as a preferred First Amendment response?

Matthew Sablan said...

Wait -- the school tossed them out to a group the school itself invited, and some of the students got injured when the public shaming hesitated between public shaming and public flogging?

... Well, at least the allegedly racist kids should get quite the pay day out of this.

Matthew Sablan said...

"When do you get to hale the teachers and administrators into court and extract money from them?"

-- There's a difference between name on the chalkboard and has to sit at the quiet table at lunch and throwing a bunch of kids into a crowd you've whipped into a frenzy by telling them their classmates are racists.

rhhardin said...

all the physical acts of violence should be punished.

Guggenbuhl-Craig _From the Wrong Side_ "The Blessings of Violence."

Otto said...

instead of girly talk, talk talk courses open up a wood shop, sheet metal shop, or computer repair shop.

Mary Martha said...

This images that first came to mind for me were those who were publicly shamed during the Cultural Revolution in China.

More and more it seems that educators are taking the actions of the Red Guard in the Cultural Revolution as a template.

Perhaps it's serves as some sort of time travel revenge for the fact that so many educators were the victims in China.

Lucien said...

I wonder whether the conduct of the school in compelling students to undergo such treatment counts as child abuse under some colorable reading of the appropriate statutes?

Because every teacher and administrator in California is a "mandatory reporter" of suspected child abuse and could have filed a (confidential) "Suspected Child Abuse Report".

David Begley said...

If damages are awarded, taxpayers will pay; not the teachers and administrators. Government officials never pay.

rhhardin said...

It's child amuse.

Tarrou said...

"But I tend to doubt that's exactly what happened. Anyway, I wonder what's so terrible about creating a forum for the other students to use speech to express their opinions. Isn't that the "more speech" remedy proponents of the First Amendment normally say is preferred? "

Up to a point. Forcing the students to attend that is the part that's not kosher, I think. If the administration wanted to have a forum for people to talk it over, fine. To hog-tie the kids up there and just stoke animosity against them, then fling them into the crowd to be beaten? That's not "more speech", that's kidnapping, incitement to violence, riot, assault and battery.

Drago said...

Althouse: "Now, I think the students who bullied the bullies should also be publicly shamed, and I certainly think all the physical acts of violence should be punished."

Hilarious.

We all know there is no way that is going to happen.

The attackers will instead be lionized.

MayBee said...

The equal thing would be for other students to criticize them on Instagram.

Another option would be to set up a forum for the students in the pictures with nooses to explain how the instagram post affected them. That would be a free speech learning experience.

Gahrie said...

School is full of public shaming and always has been

Where have you been the last twenty years?

Ann Althouse said...

"Public school is child abuse."

I agree, but tell me exactly how you are going to transform that abstract insight into real lawsuits that taxpayer money must pay to fight and and court judgments that taxpayers must pay. Tell me who will want to be a teacher if everything a teacher does can be turned into a federal lawsuit. The teacher must control speech and behavior in the classroom. As Justice Thomas wrote in the Bong Hits 4 Jesus case:

The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.” As this Court has previously observed, the First Amendment was not originally understood to permit all sorts of speech; instead, “[t]here are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise any Constitutional problem.” Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U. S. 568, 571–572 (1942) ; see also Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U. S. 536, 554 (1965) . In my view, the history of public education suggests that the First Amendment, as originally understood, does not protect student speech in public schools. Although colonial schools were exclusively private, public education proliferated in the early 1800’s. By the time the States ratified the Fourteenth Amendment, public schools had become relatively common. W. Reese, America’s Public Schools: From the Common School to “No Child Left Behind” 11–12 (2005) (hereinafter Reese). If students in public schools were originally understood as having free-speech rights, one would have expected 19th-century public schools to have respected those rights and courts to have enforced them. 1 They did not...

In short, in the earliest public schools, teachers taught, and students listened. Teachers commanded, and students obeyed. Teachers did not rely solely on the power of ideas to persuade; they relied on discipline to maintain order.

Through the legal doctrine of in loco parentis, courts upheld the right of schools to discipline students, to enforce rules, and to maintain order. 3 Rooted in the English common law, in loco parentis originally governed the legal rights and obligations of tutors and private schools.... The doctrine of in loco parentis limited the ability of schools to set rules and control their classrooms in almost no way. It merely limited the imposition of excessive physical punishment....

Ann Althouse said...

I don't agree with everything Thomas said there, but I know some of you readers are big fans of Clarence Thomas, and you might want to get up to speed on the subject of speech in public schools. We're not talking about adults here. These are children.

Drago said...

Althouse: "These are children."

Apparently, some of them are Enemies Of The State.

Gahrie said...

The teacher must control speech and behavior in the classroom.

True.

But in this case they are interfering in something that happened off school grounds, outside of school hours. If this is kosher..where are the limits of administrator interference?

David Begley said...

The solution is easy. Voucherize education. No more government schools.

Thomas went to private schools his entire life. The nuns tipped him off about Holy Cross. All Catholic and Jesuit schools except Yale.

gspencer said...

The right of free association, along with the right of free expression, are on the chopping block here.

Doesn't the left remember NAACP v. Alabama (1958)?

Of course it does. To them the principle of the case is a one-way ratchet: to be used against your constitutional protections, not ours.

So what if these students think as they do.

Fred Drinkwater said...

I wonder what's so terrible about creating a forum for the other students to use speech to express their opinions. Isn't that the "more speech" remedy proponents of the First Amendment normally say is preferred?
At first glance I suppose I would not object to the school having an assembly or similar event to address some issue of general concern in the community. However, from the information presented so far, it seems clear that the events were more along the lines of mandatory public shamings, or "confessions".
I went to University with a number of students who had grown up in PRC during the Cultural Revolution. Some who were attacked, or whose families were attacked, and some who did the attacking. Uniformly, they were seriously disturbed, damaged individuals. Uniformly, they had stories about how things "got out control."
It's too bad the official propagators of culture in California are so unaware of history.
Or perhaps they are convinced that, this time, it's OK because they are "right".

Fernandinande said...

Does the First Amendment protect ‘liking’ a racist Instagram post?

If nothing protects someone "liking" a silly picture that someone else doesn't like, we're in deep shit.

Lewis Wetzel said...
Total minority enrollment at Albany High School is 62%.


It's also 67% white (37%) or Asian(30%), which explains the good test scores.

http://www.greatschools.org/california/albany/19-Albany-High-School/

White (37% of students )
Asian (30% of students )
Hispanic (17% of students )
Two+race (10% of students )
Black (5% of students )

wendybar said...

So it's okay to parade people who like or comment on a facebook post, and make fun of them....Good to know...I wonder what will happen when a black or latino likes or comments about the racist attacks on whites, if they will get the same punishment, or if it is just for white students?? I think there is enough punishment to spread around...You know...share the punishments!!

Nonapod said...

To answer my own question, I think shame does work as a deterrent, and therefore public humiliation may be a viable method of modifying behavior. But there's all sorts of different types of public humiliation that don't involving potentially inciting violence from a crowd. There's the scarlet letter approach, for example.

Gahrie said...

The solution is easy. Voucherize education. No more government schools.


I believe in school choice, charter schools and vouchers. (I am a public school teacher)

There will always be a need for public schools, and hopefully a system with real choice will force the public schools to improve.

Todd said...

Ann Althouse said...
I don't agree with everything Thomas said there, but I know some of you readers are big fans of Clarence Thomas, and you might want to get up to speed on the subject of speech in public schools. We're not talking about adults here. These are children.

5/5/17, 9:42 AM


If I understood the "story", the initiating incident(s) did NOT occur in school. The school chose to make it its' business and decided to punish students for actions that occurred elsewhere. All else flows from that and it all stinks.

Jake said...

"Anyway, I wonder what's so terrible about creating a forum for the other students to use speech to express their opinions. "

Was it foreseeable to the school district that their alleged conduct could cause harm? Did it cause harm? It's not that the other kids didn't have a right to speak. It's that the school doesn't have the right to endanger its students. Forcing them to endure the treatment is conduct, not speech.

Fred Drinkwater said...

In my view, the history of public education suggests that the First Amendment, as originally understood, does not protect student speech in public schools.
Come on, Althouse. That's no argument in this case, and you know it.
Besides, it should really be turned around.
The students who attacked the "racists" were on school grounds during school hours when their "expressive speech" (i.e. the attacks) was performed. Thomas' reasoning suggests that the administrators had the authority and responsibility to prevent that. They did not perform their duty.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

But in this case they are interfering in something that happened off school grounds, outside of school hours. If this is kosher..where are the limits of administrator interference?

Exactly. What happens when students start posting crimethink concerning gender nouns or enforcing current immigration law or cultural appropriation?

What happens when Anglos post pictures of themselves attending a Cinco De Mayo party!?

What happened is that the teachers and administrators at the school found the speech offensive and, instead of acting like responsible adults, decided to use the power they have and the lack of accountability being in a teachers' union grants, to punish the students by publicly humiliating them. Speech, after all, has consequences.

Bob Boyd said...

Nazi punching.

Static Ping said...

What the lawsuit is describing is government endorsed bullying.

Gahrie said...

To answer my own question, I think shame does work as a deterrent, and therefore public humiliation may be a viable method of modifying behavior.

So do I, but any teacher or school official who uses shame today is begging for a lawsuit.

Fernandinande said...

Ann Althouse said...
We're not talking about adults here. These are children.


We're also not talking about school (if the below is true):

“All conduct at issue in this matter occurred off school property, were conducted off school hours, and were otherwise completely unrelated to school activity.”

It's really not any business of the school at all.

If the kids were doing something speechy-illegal, like conspiring to blow-up the dump, then it's police business.

Swede said...

Some adults thought this was a good idea.

The result will be that some students get paid.

What will happen to those adults?

Public school? Nothing.

Vouchers are the future.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Sounds Maoist.

There's got to be a better way to get your point across.

gspencer said...

“School administrators allowed the student body to hurl obscenities, scream profanities, and jeer at the Plaintiffs and the other suspended students, who were all not allowed to leave what the school considered an act of ‘atonement’ but was rather a thinly veiled form of public shaming.”

Such was the byline from our reporter-on-the-scene, Goody Constance Fletcher, in her Salem Dispatch story dated September 22, 1692.

DougWeber said...

It is important to know that Albany is, for all practical purposed, a self-governing enclave of North Berkeley. It is where the people who agree with Berkeley but do not want to live in it go.

Fernandinande said...

Perhaps if the kids, at home on their own time, were making fun of WalMart employees, WalMart has the right to detain the kids when they come in the store and parade them around while they're abused by the employees they made fun of.

William said...

There used to be incidents where private schools discovered that students were involved in a homosexual affair. Back then homosexuality was considered a far more grievous moral failing than racism. The students were sometimes expelled, but it was all kept very hush hush. I know of no instance where the students were paraded and ridiculed before the other students as a way to curtail gay behavior. See how much we've evolved since those primitive days......Any chance the administrator might be an anti-white bigot. The punishment seems disproportionate and more likely to increase rather than diminish feelings of racial hostility among all groups.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

It's really not any business of the school at all.

I agree, but this isn't the first instance I have seen where students are punished for social media posts via the amenable authority of the school administrators. School administrators seem to be under the impression that it is their job to police the thoughts of their students. That's why you have hysterical Yale students losing their minds over someone suggesting that perhaps the remedy to "offensive" Halloween costumes is to talk to the person wearing one, or perhaps to just let it go.

That's simply not how things are done. Schools punish crimethink. Thought criminals are turned over to the amenable authority of the school.

Drago said...

It's been over used but, really, this is indeed how you get more Trump.

Bob Boyd said...

In response to a drawing of a noose, it sounds like school authorities created an actual lynch mob.

Robert Cook said...

Objectionable behavior or speech by young people outside the bounds of school hours and premises is none of the school's business. It is only the business of the young people's parents.

Public shaming of students is never an appropriate punishment by a school even if the offense occurred during school hours and on school premises.

eric said...

I say the pregnant girls are next.

Let's line them up and have the other kids, especially the girls, yell "slut" and other such words at them as they pass by.

This, in Althouse view, is the proper response. Especially to those Highschool girls who send nudes of themselves (and there are a shocking number of them, it seems).

Let's line these girls up and have them walk through the masses at school and encourage the other children to call them names.

Because free speech.

David Begley said...

Another huge advantage of privatizing K-12 education is that the litigation incentive is mostly eliminated.

Here in Omaha, District 66 was sued over a religious freedom case. Case was filed by an advocacy group. No cost to the girl. Prospect of hitting the government for attorney fees. District 66 had to defend. SCOTUS case. Big money for local law firm defending District 66. This mostly stops if the government didn't nearly monopolize secondary education. The young girl had no case if she had gone to Marian or Mercy high schools.

Ann Althouse said...

"Was it foreseeable to the school district that their alleged conduct could cause harm? Did it cause harm? It's not that the other kids didn't have a right to speak. It's that the school doesn't have the right to endanger its students. Forcing them to endure the treatment is conduct, not speech."

This is one of the main arguments that were traditionally used to justify restricting free speech. It's the idea of inciting violence. Where do you draw the line? This is where you encounter the idea of "clear and present danger," which itself has been subject to interpretation over the years. The strong free-speech-supporting interpretation that the Supreme Court put in place long ago is that the speech must be "directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and… likely to incite or produce such action." Criticizing other people for being racist doesn't rise to that level.

bgates said...

I tend to doubt that's exactly what happened.

You express no such doubt about whether the Instagram posts were actually racist. "Cruel neutrality".

the students who bullied the bullies

When you say "the bullies", you're talking about the kids who allege they were assaulted, right? The students who were subjected to a screaming mob which acted with no interference from the school administration, you think those are the bullies here?

School is full of public shaming and always has been.

Equating standing in the corner with this kind of neo-Maoist struggle session is complete bullshit and you know it.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I was forced to run a gauntlet like that as a new freshmen in college. My camp group got into a little mischief at an outdoor program in the Maine woods. The counselors made us walk with our baggage past the entire assembled camp. We whistled the Colonel Bogey March, and were not the ones humiliated.

MadisonMan said...

From the end of the Article:

A woman who said she was the mother of a sophomore at the school told the Mercury News: “This is bullying. This is racist. This is sexist. They were attacking kids.”

Is she talking about the Juniors or the School Administration?

Chris N said...

In the past, would it have been ok to drag gay students through the halls if they violated a school policy on school grounds...which highlighted their gayness?

The new religion will shame and punish transgressors.

Many of the new religionists show all of the bad signs: Desire to control language and behavior, silence opposition, and divergent thought.

Ann Althouse said...

The central problem here, in my opinion, is whether schools should always be inclusive — trying to bring students together — or whether it is sometimes appropriate to single out particular children to be scorned by other children. I don't think it's illegal, unless the school is creating conditions of inequality (by singling out children based on their race or sex or ethnicity or sexual orientation), but I think it's a bad policy and I'd like to see parents given a choice which form of education to give to their child.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Any chance the administrator might be an anti-white bigot.

Perhaps. There was an incident around here where the black kids at a school, and only the black kids, got to go see a high-tech lab on a local university campus, run by a black professor (who didn't know of the exclusionary nature of the trip). The kids who didn't get a day off from school naturally jeered a bit at the kids that did upon their return--earning them a long tirade from the principal about how racist they all were. Then it hit the papers and they had to pretend to dial it back a bit ("positive role models," etc) but they never sufficiently explained why the white kids were excluded from what sounded like a fun, informative field trip.

Sebastian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fred Drinkwater said...

Bob Boyd wins the thread.

Sebastian said...

To pile on: on what basis did the school (district) sanction students for conduct not committed at school? Is any hateful expression toward any fellow student now subject to sanction, regardless of the time and place of expression, and if so on what grounds?

If the shaming exercise was organized by administrators, did they compel students to participate in it, and if so, on what basis could they compel "more speech"?

"Now, I think the students who bullied the bullies should also be publicly shamed." You are a very nice and fair-minded person. It is too bad that what you think has nothing to do with the reality of public schools.

Kevin said...

"The central problem here, in my opinion, is whether school should always be inclusive, trying to bring students together or whether it is sometimes appropriate to single out particular children to be scorned by other children."

Anything is fine as long as it's done under the banner of inclusiveness. That's the trick.

Chris N said...

And many of the ideas guiding the vanguard which becomes the new religion demonstrate daily their intolerance, authoritarianism and lack of openness.

There are truly bad people out there, but bad within all of us, and bad ideas universalized reward and incentive the worse elements without limiting principles.

All in the name of the good, of course.

Bob Ellison said...

Robert Cook said, "Public shaming of students is never an appropriate punishment by a school even if the offense occurred during school hours and on school premises."

Too absolute. A coach benches a player for being a jerk on-field; a teacher sends a kid to the principal's office for being a jerk in class. These are public acts of shaming, and they work.

I agree that there should be a pretty hard line between on-school and off-school behavior.

It works both ways, too: teachers who maltreat students should be publicly shamed. Call a meeting as a parent. It can work wonders when you're there in the star chamber.

Unknown said...

Ann Althouse comment: 5/5/17, 10:13 AM

Somehow I seem to remember limit on free speech based on yelling fire in a crowded theatre. Lining up kids in front of an agitated crowd exceeds free speech and is a bad interpretation of the situation, but even if it didn't a this specific setup invites immediate and emergent danger. As well as long term danger.

Bad canard.

Susan said...

You should all know that one reason the school will get involved with activities that occur off campus is that they are held accountable for not reacting to this sort of thing when it is brought to their attention because it affects the schools "climate". The rationale is that if students are bullied or insulted on social media by classmates and the school says and does nothing then the school is complicit in the bullying behavior. Also, if a student uses a school provided device, even at the kitchen table with Mom and pops right in the room with them, the school not the parents are responsible for bad behavior the device allows.

Of course that doesn't excuse or explain why they acted like jackasses. Just why they have to act. Very expensive lawsuits have been lost by school districts who maintained that what kids do at home on their own time is out of their purview.

furious_a said...

#HasJustineLandedYet, ages 14-17.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Can we just shake on the idea that civilized and restrained people do not control others through "shaming." I hate the use of that as a transitive verb.

Chris N said...

So we need ever more laws to determine which individuals fall into which categories of exceptions to the rule?

What about the 'rule-following punishers?'

Haven't we already gone astray from genuine tolerance with such poor design and dependence on sloppy thinking, codified into ever-growing lists of rules?

Decent people and the decency in people don't require such rules...the rules usually come from experience and voluntary participation...

If you find yourself defending public-shaming...

Fernandinande said...

Ann Althouse said...
The central problem here,


...is whether the school district can issue speeding tickets or make DUI arrests of students who have other students in their car. The death of a bunch of kids, especially if they're popular, might disrupt the school.

"This action arises out of a private online discussion"

...is whether the school district has the right to read students' personal mail or diaries on non-school property to root out any thoughtcrime in the name of inclusiveness or whatever the latest fad is.

Bob Ellison said...

I find myself defending public shaming. It's all over YouTube and FaceBook anyway. It's not going away. A healthy culture requires a healthy, but careful, application of public ways of telling people that what they're doing is rude or worse. K-12 teachers and admins should be protected when they apply such methods, and exposed when they abuse them.

Nihimon said...

"Why isn't this exactly the kind of response schools should use?"

I think there are two fundamental problems:

1. Schools have taken it upon themselves to teach correct moral behavior - even when that behavior is considered immoral by a significant number of people.

2. School attendance is mandatory, meaning the kids don't have the option to walk away and ignore the "more free speech" that's offending them. And ignoring the "free speech" that you find offensive is the safety valve that makes it feasible to protect free speech.

Drago said...

Althouse: "The central problem here, in my opinion, is whether schools should always be inclusive ..."

Once we are this far down the Orwellian path there is no coming back.

Bob Boyd said...

Kids do stupid things. When they do, you try to figure out how to make them understand why what they did was wrong. You don't ruin their lives.

The administrators apparently decided these youngsters were deplorable and irredeemable. I wonder where they got that idea.

Amadeus 48 said...

"'Public school is child abuse.'

I agree..."

says Althouse, who, if I remember correctly, got into serious verbal combat with high school administrators over the length of her miniskirt.

Don't tread on me, I say.

James Pawlak said...

The Spirit Of Mao Lives On!

Ron Winkleheimer said...

The rationale is that if students are bullied or insulted on social media by classmates and the school says and does nothing then the school is complicit in the bullying behavior.

I understand that is the rational, I disagree with it. If a student robs and kills another student off school grounds and outside of school hours, is the school also responsible? If the offending student is doing something illegal, refer it to the police. As for the lawsuit issue, the schools are getting schooled because that is were the money is. Sue some kids parents and you won't even cover the attorney costs. Sue the school district and it probably won't even make it to trial because they will want to settle and you are looking at some real money.

Ann Althouse said...

"Can we just shake on the idea that civilized and restrained people do not control others through "shaming." I hate the use of that as a transitive verb."

1. Depends on the meaning of shaming... and civilized and restrained. How are we supposed to get people to behave decently? There has to be a concept of decency even to get started. If you don't choose to physically control everyone, which wouldn't work, how do you internalize the group's interest in the individual mind? I think you have to use shame. It's just a matter of how much.

2. I t think that's a gerund.

FullMoon said...

Saw an aerial view of the student body swarming the kids and parents vehicles leaving school. Pretty scary.

Ann Althouse said...

The noun "shaming" goes all the way back, according to the OED which lists these historical uses:

13.. Minor Poems fr. Vernon MS. (1901) 534 Þou miȝtest procure wiþ such prouyng To þi-self newe schamyng.
c1450 Jacob's Well (1900) 272 Beatryx, wyth-oute schamyng of here susterys, was schreuyn priuely.
c1510 T. More tr. G. F. Pico della Mirandola Lyfe J. Picus in Wks. 5/1 Thei serued of nought but to the shaming of such other folke as wer in very science much better lerned, and in those trifles ignorant.
1680 C. Ness Compl. Church-hist. 212 Calling it..Nehustan..for the shameing of such as had so doted upon it.
1844 E. B. Browning Lady Geraldine's Courtship lxxii, I..trod them down with words of shaming.

Ann Althouse said...

I know you said "transitive," so maybe your annoyance is more particularized than anything I've said yet.

The examples say "shaming of X" and maybe you just don't like "shaming X"

buwaya said...

This serves to demonstrate the ideological world-view of California public schools teachers and administrators, with few exceptions. You see this play out much more in the classroom.

The other instructive document is of course Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities". School administrators are in a bit of a spot as they are forced to deal exclusively with discipline of certain ethnic groups. This is always a sore point. There are few white kids and they are rarely a problem, so when something does happen they are tempted to make much of them, like Wolfe's prosecutors "Great White Defendant".

Bob Ellison said...

Wow, gerund. Haven't heard that in a long time.

Shame is something the ashamed person is supposed to feel. Applying shame, as in "to shame" (transitive), is an old concept, but perhaps a newer use of the word.

We're English speakers, right? We need a new word for the transitive use. Shamify, perhaps. Enshame. ShamWow!

Gahrie said...

There has to be a concept of decency even to get started.

The question is who gets to decide what is decent? You and I would have very different standards of decency.

I think you have to use shame.

We used to. Then your side made that unacceptable. Now we just have lawsuits.

David Begley said...

Case is Westside Community Board of Education v. Mergens, 496 U.S. 226 (1990),

Bad Lieutenant said...

Ann, as you sometimes do, you use sterile words to hide horror. Which I loathe and would oppose by any means available. If this happened to you or yours, you would soon realize how wrong this was.

Anyone on the receiving end of this would be concretely terrorized far more than any abstract effect, to a hypothetical population, of some putatively racist graphic being created by some and "liked" by others, who in theory may have just been egged on to "like" it by some social media campaign ("for every like, Bill Gates will give $10,000 to charity" is a real example of a tactic to drum up likes and shares), or because they wished to support their friend, etc.

As a Trump appreciator (appreciater?) such as yourself should understand, the Venn diagram of what is legal vs. what is right does not form a perfect circle.

Ann Althouse said...

But shame as a transitive verb is very old:

5.a. To inflict or bring disgrace upon; to disgrace, dishonour; to be a cause of disgrace to.

?c1200 Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 18284 Hefiȝlike he shameþþ þe & shendeþþ & unnwurrþeþþ.
c1330 R. Mannyng Chron. Wace (Rolls) 15209 Þey wyþ tailles þe godeman schamed.
1398 J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomew de Glanville De Proprietatibus Rerum (1495) xv. xii. 492 Yf it happe that thou be ouercome thenne arte thou shamyd for euermore.
c1405 (▸c1395) Chaucer Franklin's Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 849 Here may I nat dwelle And shamen al my kynrede in this place.
1530 J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 701/1, I was of good name and fame afore he shamed me by this yvell reporte.
1556 J. Olde tr. R. Gwalther Antichrist f. 64v, This John..shamed the Churche of Rome wonderfully wt his lyuing.
1647 N. Nye Art of Gunnery i. 28 When Gunpowder is moist..it shameth the Gunner which useth it.
1667 Milton Paradise Lost i. 461 Where he fell flat, and sham'd his Worshipers.
1785 W. Cowper Task ii. 807 Rusting there..What wonder if, discharg'd into the world, They shame their shooters with a random flight.
1821 Byron Marino Faliero (2nd issue) iv. ii. 125 Doge... Let us go worthy of our sires and selves. Ber. F. I shall not shame you, uncle.
1900 Daily Tel. 18 Oct. 11/1 We tortured no prisoners,..we shamed no women.

FullMoon said...

Ann Althouse said...
..

1. Depends on the meaning of shaming... and civilized and restrained. How are we supposed to get people to behave decently? There has to be a concept of decency even to get started. If you don't choose to physically control everyone, which wouldn't work, how do you internalize the group's interest in the individual mind? I think you have to use shame. It's just a matter of how much.


Is it indecent by today's standards when a teen age girl sends nude pics to her boyfriend? If so, then is it appropriate that she is publicly shamed when he shares them with his friends.

Young girl in Bay Area was humiliated, killed herself.
Kids bullied kill themselves.
The school bullied these kids.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Buways with the armor-piercing insights again...

buwaya said...
This serves to demonstrate the ideological world-view of California public schools teachers and administrators, with few exceptions. You see this play out much more in the classroom.

The other instructive document is of course Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities". School administrators are in a bit of a spot as they are forced to deal exclusively with discipline of certain ethnic groups. This is always a sore point. There are few white kids and they are rarely a problem, so when something does happen they are tempted to make much of them, like Wolfe's prosecutors "Great White Defendant".

5/5/17, 10:48 AM




Bread and Circuses (episode) | Memory Alpha | Fandom powered by ...
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Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are captured on a planet that resembles a Roman Empire ... a 20th century-style television broadcast in which a Roman gladiator defeats .... "You bring this network's ratings down, Flavius, and we'll do a special on you!

Unknown said...

Ann,

You write, "The strong free-speech-supporting interpretation that the Supreme Court put in place long ago is that the speech must be "directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and… likely to incite or produce such action." Criticizing other people for being racist doesn't rise to that level." Sorry, but frogmarching the "bullies" into something akin to the circus maximus in a highly charged atmosphere of recrimination (sorry, "restorative justice") is way, way beyond "criticizing other people". I'm astonished there was "only" a broken nose.

Maybe the parents of those subject to this sick spectacle should round up a posse of friends and offer some "criticisms" of the teachers, using baseball bats where necessary to emphasise their points. You would presumably agree that this would fall within the parents' First Amendment rights.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

How are we supposed to get people to behave decently?

The United States has a guilt culture, not a shame culture. Well, traditionally.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guilt_society

Bad Lieutenant said...

Good thing the students are too young to be found out as Trump voters! Because out Berkeley way, isn't voting for Trump itself a racist act?

Bay Area Guy said...

Albany is a pleasant little town in NorCal, about 18,000 people, right next door to Berkeley.

On a much smaller scale, think of Bay Ridge in Brooklyn circa 1960, across the river from Manhattan. Two totally different spheres, but next to each other.

The kids in Albany, generally, are soft and sweet. It's mostly apolitical, but, of course, nominally Democrat. There are a ton of Asians (often kids of UC Berkeley grad students). It has tiny little houses, that, because of its reputation for good public schools, are now approaching $1 Million.

There isn't any violence or fights there, and no racial problems either. None.

Probably, there was some minor altercation in the school, and then a few white kids stupidly thought it would be good to post a stupid picture on Instagram about it, and then a few of their friends, stupidly thought it would be good to "like" the picture, and then the SJWs went ballistic and expelled/suspended everyone involved for being racist.

Stupidity does not necessarily equate with racism, particularly in 15 year old boys.

In Alabama, in the 60s, blacks were systematically oppressed by the Jim Crowe laws, enforced by the rough, southern, mostly white majority, often via threats of violence.

In Albany, in the 10s, you have Instagram "likes" of tasteless pictures, very few blacks, and no violence or oppression.

What a difference 50 years makes.







Bob Ellison said...

Excellent examples, Althouse, but they seem mostly to go in the direction of creating shame for others by doing a bad thing. I served a lousy Thanksgiving dinner, and shamed the people at the table thereby.

To shame someone these days is to righteously call upon the community to regard the person as shameful. The person may not even think he deserves it. The old shame doesn't apply. You're put in stocks in order to realize the error of your ways.

Kevin said...

"Depends on the meaning of shaming... and civilized and restrained. How are we supposed to get people to behave decently?"

Depends on the meaning of decently. Because that certainly has no fixed meaning over time.

Paddy O said...

I don't think we use shaming. We're not a shame-based culture. We're a guilt-oriented culture.

That's why there's such a hazy line between the legal and illegal in cases like this. They're guilty and suffer punishment for it, but is there legal guilt in the infliction of punishment outside official legal channels?

Our culture uses guilting. Which isn't a word, but it will be.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Earnest Prole said...

It’s called a Walk of Atonement, popularized by The Game of Thrones. It’s described here, but you need to watch the R-rated scene to get a true sense.

n.n said...

Everyone has a genetic bias, but it requires something like [class] diversity (i.e. anthropogenic) to force prejudice. One step forward, two steps back. Progress.

exiledonmainstreet said...

This served a two-fold purpose: to humiliate those guilty of the worst thought-crime of our time, racism and to teach the student body that it is perfectly fine to scream at and abuse such students, who clearly lost any right to be treated like human beings when they "liked" stupid and offensive pictures on Instagram.

Those kids, with the blessing of the authorities, have discovered the joys of being SJWs and are primed to go on to places like Berkeley and Middlebury, where they will continue such tactics against other "racists," like Coulter and Murray. They have learned the proper way to deal with such unpersons.

Bruce Hayden said...

The thing is that this sort of thought policing works for awhile, but, ultimately backfires. Which is why you could file this under "How You Get More Trump". Much of the upper middle class is always trying to suck up to its betters, which is why the Dems were able to make inroads there in the last elections. They were willing to buy into the pseudo moral superiority being peddled, about multiculturalism, internationalism, etc, and that Trump was a racist, and therefore evil because he didn't. But they did so from the security of their gated, well patrolled communities. The lower middle class, the working class, etc are not so blind. Not so protected from reality. And resent giving special privileges, special considerations, to others just because of their race or nationality - esp since it is they who inevitably pay the price for these progressive guilt ridden favors. The Dems thought that they could win through a divisive tribal strategy, but it failed because they couldn't keep the biggest tribe in the country, whites of European stock, voting for them, through this sort of shaming. If the Dems are going to continue to make this tribal, it is going to get worse for them, as every time govt employees, like these school administrators, try to impose progressive orthodoxy through govt force, they are going to lose more and more working class whites to the Republicans.

Wilbur said...

It wasn't a gauntlet.

They were just doing The Stroll.

Mark O said...

Can any of you tell me if it is now illegal to hate other people?
Ann?

Robert Cook said...

"Too absolute. A coach benches a player for being a jerk on-field; a teacher sends a kid to the principal's office for being a jerk in class. These are public acts of shaming, and they work."

I do not agree that either example above is "public shaming" as it is generally understood. For the player who is benched, the punishment is in not being permitted to play; for the misbehaving kid in class, the punishment is whatever discipline the principal administers. In neither case is the school population encouraged to participate in the disciplining by shouting at or denigrating or shunning the offenders.

FullMoon said...

exiledonmainstreet said...

This served a two-fold purpose: to humiliate those guilty of the worst thought-crime of our time, racism and to teach the student body that it is perfectly fine to scream at and abuse such students, who clearly lost any right to be treated like human beings when they "liked" stupid and offensive pictures on Instagram.

Those kids, with the blessing of the authorities, have discovered the joys of being SJWs and are primed to go on to places like Berkeley and Middlebury, where they will continue such tactics against other "racists," like Coulter and Murray. They have learned the proper way to deal with such unpersons.

5/5/17, 11:04 AM


In silicon valley, a high school principle participated an anti-Trump rally on school grounds, yelling "Fuck Trump" from the stage, to the delight of the teenaged crowd.

Matthew Sablan said...

"It wasn't a gauntlet."

-- If the kids are telling the truth and they were assaulted during the walk, it uh, kind of WAS a gauntlet. Just one that most the participants didn't really feel get in the spirit of it.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

If the speech occurred outside of school, the only option for the school should be to notify the parents. If the school believes the actions are criminal, they should notify law enforcement. No other recourse should be allowed in a situation like this.

The real shame here is that taxpayers will be ultimately pay the price when the legal fees and awards come due. Meanwhile the bunch of SWJs running these schools will go about their merry way.

Bob Ellison said...

Robert Cook, fair comment. The other players on the field, though, and plenty of people in the stands, know it's a shaming, and the other kids in class know it's a shaming.

These examples are not comparable to a running of the gantlet. But these are questions of degree. I think everyone who has played a serious team sport understands what a shaming looks like.

Known Unknown said...

" after some of the students’ classmates took screen shots of them and reported them to administrators at the public high school."

The Stasi is alive and well.

Fernandinande said...

Paddy O said...
Our culture uses guilting. Which isn't a word, but it will be.


It's a word.

Bob Boyd said...

"Joey, there's no living with an offensive post on social media. There's no going back from that. Right or wrong, it's a brand. A brand sticks. There's no going back.
Now you run on home to your mother and tell her...tell her everything's alright. There aren't anymore racists in the school."

"Shame! The principal has things for you to do. And Teacher wants you, I know she does.
Shame!
Shame! Come back!"

n.n said...

I "liked" Christ in urine. One of millions. It captured the secular ethos that holds Christians in contempt. Mostly projecting thoughts of [class] diversity, abortionist dreams, and selective principles onto closely spaced competing interests.

Bruce Hayden said...

Except that "guiding" or shaming are starting not to work so well, and, thus, the authorities, trying to enforce progressive orthodoxy are forced to increase the ante, increase the force they are using for such.

Known Unknown said...

"How are we supposed to get people to behave decently?"

There she is. That control impulse. This is why the Professor feels so uncomfortable around Libertarians.

n.n said...

After affixing the crimson R, there will be a baby trial. Now, it's sentencing, presumably by the national press. It's very selective. As if carried out with ulterior motives.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...But I tend to doubt that's exactly what happened. Anyway, I wonder what's so terrible about creating a forum for the other students to use speech to express their opinions. Isn't that the "more speech" remedy proponents of the First Amendment normally say is preferred? Why isn't this exactly the kind of response schools should use (rather than suspension, which was also done here)?

Either I'm reading you wrong or this is really, profoundly stupid, ma'am.
The students, presumably, are REQUIRED to be at school and if I understand their lawsuit's allegation correctly they were REQUIRED to endure the hostile speech of the other students--speech of a kind that the school would in any other circumstance deem "harassment" and thus prohibit but in this case encouraged (if only tacitly).

I didn't think of the gauntlet, I thought of an Auto-da-fe

The force/coercion and power dynamic at work in this situation entirely undercut any claim that it's simply a matter of "more speech." That seems blindingly obvious to me and I have a hard time thinking it's not obvious to you as well, Professor.

Tyrone Workman said...

Reason #372 why sending your children to government-run schools is parental malpractice.

Freeman Hunt said...

School is full of public shaming and always has been. When do you get to hale the teachers and administrators into court and extract money from them?

No kidding. I want fifty bucks from the teacher who used to dump out my desk in the middle of class.

Chris N said...

Of course it's old, but does that make it the best approach? Perhaps in some cases, but are you making that argument?

It's very important as to which ideas/ideals and which kinds of designed systems you have in place, so yes I expect to see shame, but shame marches under these circumstances makes me doubtful.

Combined with the way in which race as a concept is being used to gather people in frenzied states, is even more worrying.

The secular/ideological concepts like race, can easily become cult like, and thus people become 'the matter to be shaped by the latest moral ideas' or punished as evil.

What you think, what you say and how you behave increasingly become 'in play' for justified interference in your life.

Schools moral instruction centers run by like minds according to the latest fads

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Here are some pictures of people being ritually shamed during China's Cultural Revolution, Professor. I guess it's true that the crowd denouncing those victims were just engaging in "more speech," but that doesn't seem to capture the full spirit of the occasion, does it?

Paddy O said...


"It's a word."

Quick work, Ferdinandinande! :-)

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

A good reason to shun social media.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

A good reason to shun California.

Ann Althouse said...

""A woman who said she was the mother of a sophomore at the school told the Mercury News: “This is bullying. This is racist. This is sexist. They were attacking kids.” Is she talking about the Juniors or the School Administration?"

I know. I was going to bring that up. I don't even know if WaPo intended us to view the quote as ambiguous.

Mark Jones said...

"We whistled the Colonel Bogey March, and were not the ones humiliated."

Well done!

Todd said...

Ann Althouse said...
The central problem here, in my opinion, is whether schools should always be inclusive — trying to bring students together — or whether it is sometimes appropriate to single out particular children to be scorned by other children. I don't think it's illegal, unless the school is creating conditions of inequality (by singling out children based on their race or sex or ethnicity or sexual orientation), but I think it's a bad policy and I'd like to see parents given a choice which form of education to give to their child.

5/5/17, 10:18 AM


Sorry but what does ANY of this have to do with the situation being discussed? This did NOT occur on or in school. The school chose to become involved. They claimed ownership of an incident that had nothing to do with them. They willfully stepped in it and now they should suffer as a result.

So if two students get into a fist fight at the McDs over the weekend, it is OK for the school to punish them? If a student stays up too late watching TV or is out too late, it is OK for the school to punish them? That is what is going on here.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Ann wrote:
"Anyway, I wonder what's so terrible about creating a forum for the other students to use speech to express their opinions."

"Forum" makes it sound so civilized, as if everyone was sitting at a round table earnestly discussing this incident, like talking heads at a symposium.

Imagine if a few of the students in that "forum" had said, "No, I don't want to do this because I think it's cruel" or "I don't want to do this because I thought those Instagram pictures were funny."

How do you think those opinions would have been received?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

"How are we supposed to get people to behave decently?"

1. Follow the golden rule and teach youngsters to do the same

2. Extend mercy to those who temporarily forget #1

3. Exercise personal freedom to avoid people who engage in legal assholery

4. Accept that there will always be people who engage in legal assholery

5. Prosecute people who engage in illegal assholery

6. Have a light hand in decreeing which assholery is going to be illegal

Earnest Prole said...

What Bay Area Guy said. I believe the details (if they matter) is that the shamed students are Asian and the Instagram memes are generic racist stuff.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Here is how the school should have responded to this:

--Mind their own fucking business

Barring that, here is my hierarchy of appropriate responses:

Preferred:

Kids who saw the offensive posts should have ignored them or told their authors directly why they didn't like them, instead of snitching them out to the authorities like a bunch of little tattletales. Way to go, powers that be, in creating a generation of servile little babies.

Acceptable:

When brought to the attention of the school, the school should have said "Yes that's unfortunate but not our bailiwick--go talk to your parents or the authors of the posts. Welcome to maturity and adulthood-population: you."

Slightly less acceptable:

The school could have had some kind of voluntary discussion panel that those who got their knickers in a twist over this could chew it over if it made them feel better. Not the school's job and rather uncomfortably mission-creepy, but still mostly harmless.

Not at-fucking-all-acceptable:

Every goddamn thing described in the article.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Am I understanding correctly that Althouse is arguing that part of free speech is forcing others to listen? What the actual fuck, lady?

If I don't have the freedom to walk away and chose which speech to listen to then freedom of speech is meaningless, is it not?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

(sorry for all the f-bombs but I find this story and defenses of this behavior extremely disturbing.)

William said...

Okay, the instagram postings were wrong, and the school was right to chasten the students involved. But was this in any way a proper form of discipline? The school authorities did more to legitimize bullying than to suppress it. It's ok to hate people so long as you hate the right people........From the crooked timber of humanity. The instagram posters and the school authorities were drawing from the same deep well of human malice.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

What's so terrible about being forced to endure hostile speech--denunciations of a kind the school would certainly label harassment, and ban, in any other context?
What's so bad about being made to stand in the stocks for a few hours? It's outside, you get fresh air, you're made aware of how your fellow townspeople feel about your behavior, it's really quite nice.
What's so bad about being made to kneel on broken glass in front of your students? They're the backbone of society, after all, and as long as the things they're criticizing you for aren't on a list of protected identity characteristics (race, sex, sexual orientation) then there's no problem, right?

For God's sake, we protect children in school from the very possibility that they might be offended by something--we censor and remove books, we hire teams of mental health professionals, create safe spaces, we redesign the physical infrastructure of the school itself to avoid the slim chance that a transgender student might not get to use their preferred restroom--and your contention is that "hey, it's fine to use group shaming against behavior the school disapproves of, these kids who did this bad thing ought to just suck it up and accept that the school-approved opprobrium being visited upon them (and which they're presumably forced to endure) is "more speech" and they've got it coming?"

What the fuck is going on?

Freeman Hunt said...

The reason that adults are in charge of schools is that they are supposed to be more mature than the children. Maybe there was a breakdown of that here.

Were I the school principal, I'd have assigned an essay on the history of lynching in the United States (to teach them why people found their actions so offensive), a week of after school detention (because one is not allowed to bully his classmates in or out of school), and having the students sit down in person to apologize (because young people have to learn how to admit mistakes and offer apologies.)

As for shaming, the students might experience that from other students and teachers while going about the day at school, and they would have earned that, but no adults should be encouraging mob justice. You want to teach young people why certain things are wrong, not that things are wrong simply because other people don't like them.

Now if the evidence pointed to the comments or images being actual threats, the students should obviously be expelled.

Mary Beth said...

Shortly after the racist Instagrams came to light, the same school had a problem with some sexually explicit Instagrams. I wonder what kind of shaming they plan for that one. What happens to the lawsuit if they have a public "restorative justice session" for one but not the other?

They also have a wee bit of a Nazi problem.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Very good comments, I Have Misplaced My Pants. I agree with you. This is a horrifying story.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Shortly after the racist Instagrams came to light, the same school had a problem with some sexually explicit Instagrams."

"They also have a wee bit of a Nazi problem."

Maybe there should be a public shaming of the parents, especially for the poor handling of their children's use of tech.

buwaya said...

"What the fuck is going on?"

The final stage of the long march through the institutions.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...School is full of public shaming and always has been. When do you get to hale [sic] the teachers and administrators into court and extract money from them?

Oh, I dunno, how about: the courts recognize that students have some positive right not to be harassed/subjected to behavior you're calling "public shaming" with school administrators turning a blind eye, right? We all agree that if some kid were being "publicly shamed" for being fat, say, and the school (teachers, admin, etc) knew about it and did nothing then that kid's parents would "get to haul" the school into court an extract money from the school. That's not controversial, is it? It happens all the time.
So. In this case you have the SCHOOL ADMIN ITSELF engaging in public shaming behavior (allegedly). If the behavior is something that the school can be held liable for not PREVENTING, surely the school can be held liable for ACTIVELY ENGAGING in that same behavior. Right?

Honestly I'm trying to figure out what your angle on this is, Professor. You seem to be pretending to see some line that doesn't exist and the absurdity of applying (what appears to be) your position is so clear I have to think something else is going on.

"Public shaming is a part of school/any social experience, therefore any public shaming--including any carried out by school officials under color of law/school authority--must be valid/legal/permissible." That's self-evidently idiotic and I frankly don't buy that you believe that, Professor.

rcocean said...

Can we bring back stoning?

That'd teach those dirty racists.

Todd said...

William said...

Okay, the instagram postings were wrong, and the school was right to chasten the students involved. But was this in any way a proper form of discipline? The school authorities did more to legitimize bullying than to suppress it. It's ok to hate people so long as you hate the right people........From the crooked timber of humanity. The instagram posters and the school authorities were drawing from the same deep well of human malice.

5/5/17, 12:43 PM


Care to explain why you think that?

This was not "home work" turned in for an assignment, nor a book report. It was not even done on school grounds or during school hours. What business is it of the school's at all?

I think they have seriously overstepped here and deserve a good kick in the wallet.

As I stated above, are people that are OK with this also OK with the school subjecting a student to detention if they get in a fight with another kid at the MickyD on Saturday? How about if they stay out too late or up past their bed times? Public shaming for that too?

Also this was NOT normal peer shaming, this was school sanctioned and conducted shaming. WTF is wrong with them?!? What the hell is wrong with anyone that is cool with what the school did?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

A forum.

Help me out--if I'm compelled to attend some hearing, some venue, some event...is that still just "a forum?"
I might go to the courthouse to listen to a case or two--it's public property, it's an open forum, no big deal.
If a court subpoenas me and forces me to attend a session--to answer questions, to give testimony, to hear speech by others, etc--is that me "just attending a forum?" Or maybe does that "penalty" part of subpoena make a qualitative difference in the situation?

Were these kids required to attend this forum? Required under penalty of some school/admin sanction? They're required to attend school under penalty of law anyway, right?
Doesn't that change the calculus here, Professor? How the hell could it not?

Martha said...

Public shaming should not be part of anyone's school experience.

That this was initiated by those in a position of authority and power —school officials—sends a shiver through me.

I would not send any child of mine to a public school in California.

GAHCindy said...

The most offensive thing I see happening here is the handing over of authority to punish wrongdoing to a mob, rather than the proper authorities (parents if this was done entirely off school grounds, police if those drawn nooses were a threat, school admin if done in a way that disrupted classes or school functions). I don't dispute that the school may have some proper authority here. No doubt these images accompanied other bullying. I've seen worse go unpunished for the reason that social media isn't technically on school grounds. But that was just a Christian boy being stalled and harassed for his parents' beliefs, so who cares? Social media is certainly *accessed* from school, and kids talk and share and mock at school, so I can see how they probably had authority to do something here.

But since when do we hand wrongdoers over to a mob? That's essentially what happened, isn't it? Shaming is a social function. The other kids can shun the brats all they want, and I'm all for it. The incident in question was not a social setting, but a disciplinary and arguably a political one. Ann is being obtuse, calling this school enforced struggle session "speech". I think she knows it, too.

Jake said...

"Criticizing other people for being racist doesn't rise to that level."

The speech isn't what's actionable here. It's the negligent/intentional infliction of emotional distress that results from being subjected to the angry mob.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Ann is being obtuse, calling this school enforced struggle session "speech". I think she knows it, too.
5/5/17, 1:50 PM


I can't wrap my mind around the idea of a teacher who lies to her students.

Birches said...

If your plan was to make racism cool and desirable to young people, you couldn't have done better than what the SJWs are actually doing.

This is correct. When we live in a society where anything goes, kids, especially males will try to figure out how to push the boundaries.

I doubt these kids are racist, they were just trying to get a reaction.

Freeman's punishment seems appropriate.

Freeman Hunt said...

having = had

Ann Althouse said...

Don't "sic" my "hale." Look it up. We used to sniff at those who thought it was "haul into court " or the silly "hail into court." Now, "haul" has become so common, it's not worth sniffing at, but don't act like I'm wrong when I'm right.

Ann Althouse said...

As for the supposed problem of requiring children to listen, what do you think compulsory schooliing is?

And It's ridiculous to rely on the picture of the events you get from a complaint in a lawsuit. We will see what the other side of the story is.

Rabel said...

"As two of the plaintiffs were leaving, an incensed demonstrator struck both of them in the head, leaving one of them with a broken nose and the other with cuts and bruises, the lawsuit alleged."

A few pictures and video of the mob. This was after the school and (apparently) Althouse sanctioned public shaming.

Rabel said...

A handy Wikipedia entry.

Bay Area Guy said...

And It's ridiculous to rely on the picture of the events you get from a complaint in a lawsuit. We will see what the other side of the story is.

Dodge. We comment all the time on events, newspaper articles, and anything else, before we see notarized statements under oath. Puleeze.

Assume these facts:

1. Student A puts up Instagram pic that is racially offensive.
2. Students B, C & D "like" the Instagram pic.
3. Other students alert the school authorities about the offending Instagram pic
4. School expels Student A
5. School suspends Students B,C,D -- mobs form at school causing not mayhem, but potential fear for Students B,C,D.
6. Students B,C,D are having trouble re-integrating into the school.

This is left-wing, "Burn the witch" nonsense. There was no violence or discrimination. The only potential violence and/or threats was by the Mob associated with the aggrieved. In older times, this would have been called the "lynch mob"

In the name of fighting "racism," you don't get to wreck the lives of stupid 15-year old boys for exercising poor judgment on the internet.

This is an EASY call.


William said...

@Todd: What if a group of kids pounded on another kid at McD's because he was the wrong race. Would you be okay if the school took a hands off attitude? I don't mind the school getting involved, but the punishment meted out was wildly inappropriate. What Freeman recommended seems about right,......The drawn noose was a kind of symbolic lynching. This punishment seems to be a kind of slightly less symbolic lynching.......Whilst constructing an outhouse from the crooked timber of humanity, one should take care not to make the commode seat a trap door.......I might want to work on that metaphor a bit further.

Jon Burack said...

The Two-Minute Hate. We are making steady progress toward that modality. Lord of the Flies stuff. Except even the kids here could not outdo the adults who set this insane mob up.

Jon Burack said...

Also, I think the Iroquois did stuff like this - except they did it to real enemies. Sometimes they incorporated the victims into the tribe. Sometimes the tortured, mutilated and ate them. Perhaps with a bit more social justice, we will attain the same level of civilization. Or is this an instance of cultural appropriation, in which case, we can perhaps make the perpetrators run the same gauntlet.

Gahrie said...

I can't wrap my mind around the idea of a teacher who lies to her students.

Happens all of the time. Several teachers at the school I am working at insist that the Rosenbergs, Sacco and Venzetti, and Hiss were all innocent.

It's mostly lies by omission however....no mention of Wilson and segregation, Sanger and eugenics...that type of thing.

Unknown said...

So. Student posts racist message on his or her own time, on his social media account. The school has the right and apparently Ann argues, the duty to publicly shame the students in the most humiliating way possible, a virtual lynch mob, as a corrective tool.

After all, racism is definitely wrong think, and must be stomped out.

What about, say, another "wrong think" that leftist schools endorse: "anti-gay bigotry" such as going to a Mormon or Southern Baptist church? Posit that our zealous principal in his pursuit of thought crime from his students sees a young freshman girl from his school posting pictures of her giving a talk at church about the sanctity of marriage and how God put Adam and Eve on the earth. Now, knowing that according to the Marquette story, the Brandon Eich bit, and numerous other examples, that holding views about marriage equal to Man+woman is bigotry: would Ann support the principal marching the poor girl down the halls, yelling out "Homophobic bigot! Show this bully how tolerant we are of vile bigotry such as herself!"

Could, and should the principal publicly and viciously humiliate a girl who gives a talk in church that could be construed as "anti-gay?"

Because it sure sounds like Ann would approve of that.

--Vance

Lewis Wetzel said...

I think that there is a background to this that escapes most people.
Educators in the public School system are taught it is they, not parents, who are to provide moral instruction to children.
Parents love their children.
Educators don't love the children they are entrusted with.
So you end up with shibai like this. No parent would do this to his or her child.

Josephbleau said...

When Abraham Lincoln was 33 years old, he gave a speech inside a Presbyterian church to a temperance society. His message: The assembled ought to be nicer to drinkers and sellers of alcohol, rather than shunning them, or denouncing them as moral pestilences. Indeed, they ought to use “kindly persuasion,” even if a man’s drunkenness had caused misery to his wife, or left his children hungry and naked with want.

For people are never less likely to change, to convert to new ways of thinking or acting, than when it means joining the ranks of their denouncers.

To expect otherwise, “to have expected them not to meet denunciation with denunciation ... and anathema with anathema, was to expect a reversal of human nature,” Lincoln explained. “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great highroad to his reason, and when once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing his judgment of the justice of your cause.”

However, Lincoln cautioned, dictate to a man’s judgment, command his action, or mark him to be despised, “and he will retreat within himself, close all the avenues to his head and his heart. And even though your cause be naked truth itself, transformed to the heaviest lance, harder than steel, and sharper than steel can be made, and though you throw it with more than Herculean force and precision, you shall be no more be able to pierce him, than to penetrate the hard shell of a tortoise with a rye straw.”

Old Abe was a Treasure that Moderns can not abide.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...Don't "sic" my "hale." Look it up. We used to sniff at those who thought it was "haul into court " or the silly "hail into court." Now, "haul" has become so common, it's not worth sniffing at, but don't act like I'm wrong when I'm right.

Ok; my fault, apologies.

Ann Althouse said...
As for the supposed problem of requiring children to listen, what do you think compulsory schooliing is?


That's my fucking point, ma'am. You're talking about the interaction as though it's a "normal" speech-more speech type event. That's stupid--since they're in school it's a situation where force/compulsion/coerced behavior is involved so it therefore makes no sense to say "this is just the more-speech remedy you free speech people say you want." That's my point.

Ann Althouse said...And It's ridiculous to rely on the picture of the events you get from a complaint in a lawsuit. We will see what the other side of the story is.

I've noticed you make this argument from time to time, but I don't understand it. You present a story based on a lawsuit and the allegations made in the lawsuit. That's pretty common here. Se all know they're just allegations; we're all adults here. Sometimes you talk about the alleged facts and make statements, other times you talk about the alleged facts and say we can't make any statements since all we have are allegations from a lawsuit. I honestly don't give a shit either way--it's your blog and if you want to post lawsuit allegations (presumably for discussion) and then call those allegations likely bullshit (since they're just from a complaint) that's your business. Makes me wonder why you posted the info for discussion in the first place, though.

Anyway I don't think I'm much closer to understanding your position and I don't get the impression that you'd like to help. Fair enough.

Freeman Hunt said...

No parent would do this to his or her child.

Except they do. They put them in there.

Douglas said...

There is also the interesting legal question of whether "liking" something on social media is an action that can be punished.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"That is until it is overused. At some point if you shame and humiliate enough and with less and less justification, people get tired of hearing it and the charge starts to lose its meaning."

I hear it everyday. Young, educated, co-workers who think nothing of making veiled and not so veiled racist generalizations (the work place is almost entirely White, probably due to intelligence and personality screening) yet would be both surprised and amused if anyone accused them of being racist. But I voted for Obama! I had a Black roommate in college! My girlfriend's sister is married to a Black man and we hang out at family events!

The currency of racial outrage is so debased that it gets nothing except among those who can't tell you to fuck off.

The Cracker Emcee said...

There are a few Hispanics. It's interesting that Hispanics in white-majority environments are even less likely to be down with the Brothers than the Whites in that environment. Maybe they just feel less constrained.

EMyrt said...


Blogger Susan said...

You should all know that one reason the school will get involved with activities that occur off campus is that they are held accountable for not reacting to this sort of thing when it is brought to their attention because it affects the schools "climate". The rationale is that if students are bullied or insulted on social media by classmates and the school says and does nothing then the school is complicit in the bullying behavior. Also, if a student uses a school provided device, even at the kitchen table with Mom and pops right in the room with them, the school not the parents are responsible for bad behavior the device allows.

Of course that doesn't excuse or explain why they acted like jackasses. Just why they have to act. Very expensive lawsuits have been lost by school districts who maintained that what kids do at home on their own time is out of their purview.

5/5/17, 10:29 AM

Well, than it seems to me high time to pursue very expensive lawsuits against schools the allow some students to abuse others in real life on a racial basis. Or maybe the de Vos admin could step in.

Earnest Prole said...

A mob resembles free speech in the same way rape resembles consensual sex.

Josephbleau said...

Turn children out to the mob. Have violence done to them. Have them cursed and their bones broken. In the name of God, do you approve?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

As for the supposed problem of requiring children to listen, what do you think compulsory schooliing is?

Not the same thing at all, yo.

The curricular speech that children are required to hear at school is pre-vetted, arrived at by consensus in a proactive and not reactive fashion, and designed to transmit facts, not to punish behavior (especially off-campus behavior!). It's also not designed to divide children into two groups and then pit them against each other in some weird-ass medieval morality exercise. Furthermore, students and parents who object to particular speech have the right to remove their child from that particular lesson. (At least they do where I live.)

One thing I have not seen reported on this story is whether the parents of any of these students were consulted or their permission was obtained in any form. I would be LIVID if my child was subjected to either side of this spectacle.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

The main problem here is that the administration believes they own all the children and they have carte blanche to serve as the morality police because well they're right, of course!

For these people it's always 1692 and it's always such righteous fun to tie a heretic to the whipping post in the public square.

Fuck off, Puritan zealots. I don't belong to you and neither do my children.

Abyssus Invocat said...

It's different because as the suit alleges, the students weren't allowed to leave and were forced to listen to the jeers of their classmates. You're a lawyer right,? The other side of the right to speak is the right not to listen.

Char Char Binks said...

Getting struck in the head and a nose broken during a school-sanctioned riot is hardly a "more-speech remedy", or a "words-only" gauntlet. Althouse is a phony free-speech advocate, but she is a true SJW when it comes to Blacks -- and I thought she wasn't actually Jewish!

Bad Lieutenant said...

I'd rather have racism than have this.

pdn said...

This is all virtue signalling - which is the new secular morality. If you want people to change there behavior, you go to them directly, explain the problem, show them counter information,and then appeal to their better selves to change their behavior. But you only do that if your goal is to actually change the hearts of the people in question. This is because you love the other, or at least hold all people as equal and deserving of respectful correction, knowing full well that you are not perfect yourself. These are kids who need respectful correction.

However, if your goal is to prove how superior you are to the other, and to shame the other to prove they are bad people compared to you, you create a public forum to yell shaming words at the other. You do not give respectful correction, but instead show the other that they are despicable, not worthy of any time or effort to teach or correct because they are heinous and do not deserve to be among all the super superior virtuous people who are yelling at them.

It is virtue signalling at its worst, and it was encouraged by the adults who should be teaching students how to change someones opinion/behavior through respectful discourse, not unethical 'hate' speech against the transgressors. There are consequences like suspension, etc. when students misbehave - but speech should not be taught to be used as a weapon of scorn, disgust, and intimidation by adults - especially against kids. That actually ends any hope of discussion and change of hearts, but instead creates a sense of superiority by the virtuous in-group and fosters no mercy for transgressors, but only scorn, disgust and hate directed towards the out-group- in this case fellow students.

But again, it all depends on your goal. Do you want to change someones heart/behavior, or do you want people to pat you on the back and say you are a superior human being who holds superior morality.