Freedom of Speech Does Not Grant You Freedom From Consquences

No one can deny the right to freedom of speech, right? Well, that’s not the case for a North Carolina high school student.

Senior Hunter Rogers has gotten into a bit of a stir with his teacher after she had suggested that Rogers could be arrested for criticizing Pres. Obama. The argument became a tangent off of a classroom discussion on a Washington Post article releasing a story of Mitt Romney allegedly bullying a fellow student while in high school.

Rogers questions the teacher if Obama bullied someone in high school – a valid question from his readings of Pres. Obama’s memoir “Dreams from My Father”. With the teacher not knowing the correct answer to his question, the argument fired up rather quickly. The North Rowan High School teacher insists that “there is no comparison” between Pres. Obama and Mitt Romney. As revealed in the YouTube video of this argument, she later denied his right to free speech in the classroom:

“Listen, let me tell you something,” the teacher says to the student, “you will not disrespect the president of the United States in this classroom.”

 "I'll say what I want," says Hunter Rogers.

 “Not about him you won’t,” the teacher says.

Ironically enough, the teacher may have assumed that Rogers was unpatriotic for his critique of Pres. Obama. She, too, is far more unpatriotic for undermining Rogers’ unalienable right to free speech.

The constitution protects Americans' natural right to the freedom of speech – it’s a liberty individuals were all born with. That’s a fundamental principle that even Pres. Obama should understand, since he did serve time teaching a class on Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago.  

And although freedom of speech is also protected for the North Rowan High School teacher, it doesn’t mean that she is also granted the freedom from consequences. The teacher was reportedly suspended with pay from the high school following the widespread media coverage of this case and the YouTube video containing their discussion. 

Freedom of speech is protected for all American citizens; Americans have the right to exercise their free speech as long as they don’t infringe upon someone else’s right. This teacher did the exact thing. She had imposed her Obama preaching to the classroom, and after being unable to acknowledge the drawbacks of her arguments, she denied a student his right to speak – even suggesting the false assumption that he could be arrested for talking “bad” about the President.

Free minds have sparked this nation to progress further than it has ever gone before. The purpose of education is to be able to learn with a clear perspective; students should be encouraged to learn on their own and think for their own – rather than be forced to accept a teacher’s opinion as their own. With that being said, a teacher has a right to express their beliefs, but they must also respect their students’ right to expression.

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