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Creative Misconduct

By Louis in News on Apr 27, 2007 10:39PM


Much of mankind's great literature contains conflict, violence, and death. We remember part of our high school curriculum contained Lord of the Flies, which by no means is about children living peacefully on a deserted island. There were many more, but that was just one of the more disturbing ones.

So, logically, when Cary-Grove High School senior, Alan Lee, was asked to write a creative writing piece, it was possible, that his assignment was going to contain some violence. However, Lee's piece was apparently a little too strong for the likes of his teacher, supervisor, and principal. Lee was reported to the police, arrested, and charged with disorderly conduct, which can carry a possible sentence of 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine. We aren't sure exactly what he wrote, but sources are reporting that it was nothing stronger than most movies or video games.

Chicagoist is well aware of the tragic incident recently at Virginia Tech, and we expect and accept a strong reaction, but is the correct response a total disregard for a student's civil rights? The Supreme Court has ruled before that "it can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate." There should be at least some expectation in a "creative writing" class that what you put in a paper, short of threats, should be considered "creative" and within a student's free speech rights. It seems like much of this could been avoided by simple meeting with the student and talking about his paper.