Teachers Get In Trouble for Teaching Students About Their Constitutional Rights

Two teachers at Norview High School in Norfolk, VA were recently put on administrative leave by the school after a parent complained about a video that she saw in Government class.  The video informed its audience on how to assert their constitutional rights during various encounters with police, such as during a car or house search. It was accompanied by a one page handout about a person’s rights when stopped and arrested by the police.   When the girl came home after school that day, she told her mother “You won’t believe what we are learning in Government. They are teaching us how to hide our drugs.”  The woman promptly called the school to complain about what was taught to her daughter, and the teachers were subsequently suspended.

There are two things that are rather irksome about these series of events.  First, why are parents are so ready to jump to conclusions and act on those assumptions?  It’s a little hard to believe that teachers would be lecturing their students on the best way to hide drugs from the police.  If the girl’s mother had just inquired as to what was actually taught that day, it would have been clear that this was Government class as usual, just an exercise in educating youth on the Constitution.

Second, and more importantly, why are schools eager to appease parents at the drop of a hat?  These are institutions filled with education professionals: teachers know what their students should learn and what the appropriate materials for teaching them are.  A school’s administration should trust that the teacher is making reasonable choices as to how a child is taught and with what.  In response to a parent’s complaint, they should first research the allegations. The administration at Norview High School, for instance, could have a gotten a copy of the leaflet given to students.  They also could have watched the video to see if anything inappropriate was shown.  Instead, the school acquiesced to the demands of one uninformed parent.  Sometimes, Mother doesn’t know what’s best.  That’s why we have schools and teachers.

Unfortunately, this is not a new problem.  Schools all over the country have bowed down to raging parents over something they don’t think is appropriate for their child.  It’s a distressing thought that a parent’s misunderstanding about a certain book or a particular lesson in school can translate into a child’s incomplete education.  Learning about an individual’s constitutional rights enhances one’s education and can even make for a better citizen.  School administrators need to have more confidence in themselves and their teachers.  They need to stick to what they believe is important for a child’s education.

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16 Responses to Teachers Get In Trouble for Teaching Students About Their Constitutional Rights

  1. Your article goes to show that teaching civics can be dangerous. I taught computer science for 40 years, and there is no doubt that some of what I taught could be used for creating computer viruses and other malware. It is impossible to teach chemistry without the students learning about poisons and explosives. In physics classes students learn about projectiles. In biology they learn about germs. In English they learn about Shakespeare, Rabelais, and Balzac. In fact every course taught is dangerous in one way or another. Perhaps the safest thing to do would be to close down schools altogether.

    • David Somerville says:

      Charles,
      I must agree, it seems that in order to suit the objectives of the New World Order Third Reich, Homeland Security should shut down all the schools in the name of National Security. That way, no one will know anything that could infringe upon growing the omnipotence of Government. Its a sound idea that should be getting far more public support. Its unbelievable that the public is not in support of such Homeland Security policies offered for the benefit of bureaucrats and fat government salaries. Perhaps the answer lies in more gunboat/gunpoint diplomacy here in the Homeland with more fake government sponsored terrorist attacks like 9/11. I can easily see how the next nazi FBI/CIA/Homeland Security farce will involve high school kids using something they learned in school as an excuse to shut down schools and teaching classes. Don’t put it past these nazi’s. The Federal Judges will buy it because they were bought and sold out long ago.

    • Colony14 says:

      By all means, shut down the public schools. Perhaps our children would learn something if they all attended private schools.

  2. educator says:

    This is bad. Why they give trouble to people who want to give educational about rights? Isn’t it against right in the first place?

  3. Scott Bottomley says:

    Interesting story of the Norview H.S. staff

  4. Amy Anderson says:

    Did anyone actually look at the material this teacher presented? And, more importantly, how did the teacher introduce the material to the class? The student was absolutely correct in stating that they learned how to hide their drugs because that’s what the material presented was designed to teach. This kid gets an “A” in the class for being awake and paying attention.

    If the teacher prefaced this material by telling the students who produced it, that it might just be a little biased against police, that it did present factual information they needed to know, then I don’t have a problem. Was there class discussion about the film? About its source? About its obvious bias? Did any of the students question whether the information was correct considering the source? Used correctly, this material could be excellent fodder for classroom interaction. If it was presented as straight up gospel then the teacher should be removed from the profession.

  5. In answer to your question, the materials used in the class are linked in the post. As you can see, there is no bias in the pamphlet nor in the video. All they do is inform people what their constitutional rights are if they are stopped by the police. People have the right to know what their rights are when it comes to law enforcement.

  6. Pingback: Teachers Get In Trouble for Teaching Students About Their Constitutional Rights « Truth2Freedom's Blog

  7. TiredoftheBS says:

    People listen to their kids, and take their side even when they don’t know the facts.
    To some here asking about did the teacher do this or teach is that way, wake up, they are being taught more subversive things in our schools that the Constitution.
    Like Socialism, Islam and other material that you should be questioning.
    I know I am a child, and I see this. So wake up parents, get the head out of the sand. Not everything you hear from kids are facts, do your homework, call and ask the school directly.

  8. nmgene says:

    I have not seen the video but; Everyone needs to know there rights when confronted by Police. The Police do not have the right to search your car with out probable cause. You have the right to take the fith. Any thing you say can be used against you. The Police can lie to you but if you lie to them you can go to jail.The Police constantly lie in there reports and twist what ever was said to make a case against you or make there case look better. They are trained in how to do it. This is a statement by a 30 year veteran Los Angeles Sherrifs Deputy. (80% of the police are more crooked then 80% of the people they Arrest.) #1 Tell the Officer YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE MARANDA WARNING STATEMENT The police can not use anything you say to them if you do not understand.Ask them if you are under arrest, if they say no you can leave. Dont say anything about what they say they stopped you for SAY NOTHING. TAKE THE FITH My 59 years of experiance with the police shows me that 90% are gung ho and believe everyone is a criminal and lieing to them. I can show Police reports with 10 outright lies in them and have had police men fired for filing false reports. If you have the capabilitie record or video any confrontation with the police and no they can not legally stop you from doing it. The police cameras in there cars are a violation of your rights. The law says anytime a recording is made with out a warrant all persons must be notified that a recording is being made. Set your video camera or cell phone on top of your car and stay where it can record you.

  9. LibertyTreeBud says:

    The kid is a moron. She’ll be perfect in the government indoctrination centers. She’ll be molded into a perfect little idiot slave who will tattle on her parents or friends because she was told to do it by some authority. Great, she’ll go far. She should work for the government.

  10. Sam says:

    I have seen the video that is referred to in the article. It was made in response to the large number of individuals who get “busted” for having cannabis (marijuana) in their possession when they encounter the police. The video teaches people how to avoid this by knowing their constitutional rights against “unlawful search and seizures”. I see nothing wrong with this. Everyone has a right to his or her own privacy, and having a police officer inspect your vehicle without reasonable cause or enter your home or apartment without your permission or a warrant is a violation of this right, whether you do drugs or not. The video itself does not promote drug use. It is merely meant to inform people of their rights.

  11. Dan Noel says:

    Let public school teacher get the message here! They can be lazy. They can get sick one day a week. They can demotivate their kids. Unions will protect them. School administrators, at worst, will assign them to some school in a modest black or hispanic neighborhood.

    But this thing is verboten: never, ever do anything that will let kids doubt that their government is after their best interest. Robotically lead them into the pledge of allegiance to a flag, but don’t teach them about the constitution. After all, as Bush put it so eloquently, it’s just a goddamned piece of paper.

    Love,

    • T says:

      @ Dan Noel… It’s pretty obvious that you have NEVER taught a day in your life. Not all opinions were created equal… Get your facts straight first before making statements.

  12. Pitbull says:

    Knowledge is power, only if one uses it…learn the US Constitution and use it…otherwise we’re going to lose it.

  13. Pingback: Barry Soetoro - Freemason Ring is Proof | Morning Liberty Radio Program

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