Patterico's Pontifications

7/16/2008

Boy Samson vs. the Principled Principal

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:35 am

Principled hairgrower, or no-account rulebreaker? You be the judge:

Adriel’s parents want to enroll him at Needville Elementary School. Betenbaugh sent an e-mail to the principal, asking about kindergarten and explaining Adriel’s long hair. The principal replied that the district doesn’t allow long hair on boys.

On June 9, the family met with Curtis Rhodes, the Needville superintendent. Rhodes asked what religion upheld that Adriel could not cut his hair. The family explained there wasn’t a church or doctrine they followed, but they believe that Adriel’s hair is sacred.

Arocha said that his belief is to cut his hair after life-changing events, such as mourning the death of someone he loves.

Rhodes told the family Adriel’s hair would have to go.

The principal is apparently something of a stickler for rules:

“We have a lot of people tell us all the time that they move here strictly for the school system. This is just from the opposite side. [Arocha and Betenbaugh] want to move in, yet they want to change this part to fit how they practice or what they believe in,” Rhodes says. “A school district is a reflection of the community. We’ve consistently been very conservatively dressed, very conservatively disciplined. It’s no secret what our policy is: You’ll cut your hair to the right point. You’ll tuck in your shirt. You’ll have a belt.”

. . . .

“I’ve never had a hair past my ears,” Rhodes says. “I’m pretty much a rule follower. I’m not out to, just because there’s a rule I got to try to break it. I wasn’t raised that way, I wasn’t genetically put together that way. If they say do this, I’m going to do it.”

100 bucks says he muttered “damn longhairs!” to himself at some point during this episode.

What I find interesting is that, if the long hair stemmed from a religious belief, it would be no problem. Apparently principles are allowed only if tied to a belief in a higher being of some sort.

111 Responses to “Boy Samson vs. the Principled Principal”

  1. I believe that long hair on Sikhs is a religion based requirement.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikh

    Of course, the long hair is worn under a turban, which might create its own set of issues in that school.

    Not to mention the knife.

    I don’t know how TSA handles that for Sikh travelers.

    Eric Blair (e8a68b)

  2. Can a hairdresser be a “Higher Being”?

    Maybe if Vidal Sassoon started a church or something.

    David Ehrenstein (85f463)

  3. Yes, I realize he’s the superintendent and not the principal. But “principled superintendent” doesn’t have the same ring. Let me have my fun.

    Patterico (b7a7a3)

  4. He made a good point that people move there for the good schools, and then some want to change them.

    Conservative dress codes have been shown to reduce problems at schools.

    martin (0bd3dd)

  5. and you just know that if the parents had named a hair-preserving religion, the superintendent would have undertaken to weigh the sincerity of their faith as a european-style judge-prosecutor. “we are hasidic jews” would have been met by “then you keep a perfectly kosher kitchen, yes or no?” “we are rastafarians” earns “so, you listen to reggae music and smoke dope all the time?” sikhs? “ok, show me your sacred knife.”

    i’m with the equal rights people. if the rastafarian kid gets to wear dreadlocks to class, so does mine if he wants to.

    what do you think american public schools are about? our kids used to be #1 in math and science. now they’re way down in the pack there, but they are approaching #1 in submission to perceived authority, and have been #1 for a long time in brand recognition and materialistic consumerism. the school district is indeed a reflection of the community.

    this is a learning experience for the kid and his naive parents. humans have evolved a technique for communicating with low-level officials, some do it better than others, and they have slightly greater reproductive prospects, so the technique is naturally selected. it’s called “lying.”

    assistant devil's advocate (da8acc)

  6. If believing in the sacredness of your kid’s long hair is a “principle” allowing exemption from a rule, then how would you justify any rules? The reason a principle “tied to a belief in a higher being of some sort” may be “allowed”, has something to do with the 1st amendment.

    gatepost (3ec5ed)

  7. The kid’s dad should have told the superintendant he was a muslim and demanded foot baths too.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  8. …or mentioned that they’re Rastafarians, mon – but then the parents would have had to shown up with dreadlocks when discussing the problem with the Sup’t.

    Dmac (416471)

  9. The current generation is among the most narcissistic, spoiled in history – and it does not look good for the next.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  10. If we relied on vouchers to provide universal education, this wouldn’t be a problem… don’t like the short-hair rule? Find a school that allows long hair. It’s the fact that it’s a government official setting the short-hair rule that causes the problem.

    PatHMV (653160)

  11. “The current generation is among the most narcissistic, spoiled in history. ”

    A nation of whiners, eh?!

    Dana (f3e2a8)

  12. I have no problem with this. Dress and grooming codes are proven to create a more stable environment for children to learn in, and even for adults to work in (as casual workplaces are falling out of favor in some quarters).

    If their conservative rules helps make them more effective, and it is a norm of the community, the school should stick to its guns.

    The boy (and his parents) can also take this opportunity to observe the scarcity of long-hairs working in most professions elite professions.

    headhunt23 (9e1243)

  13. “In my fantasy world, I would have went in, pled my case, let them meet my son, and the community I’ve chosen to live in would have said, ‘Hey, I want to be progressive.’ Unfortunately, that isn’t what happened,”

    Ooooh, they almost had me.

    Pablo (99243e)

  14. If you allow long hair for girls you have to allow long hair for boys. The parents will win if they go to court.

    ParatrooperJJ (8a6914)

  15. #7, I have always believed that baby boomers were the “most narcissistic, spoiled” generation in American history.

    As for the decision regarding the student’s hair. One wonders if one is observing a religious/cultural tradition, from one’s own religious heritage or cultural background, counts even when the individual doesn’t realize that is where the observation comes from.

    One thinks about the Conversos in Mexico.

    If the parents believe that Adriel’s hair is sacred, the belief must have some origin even if the parents have it only as a “vague sense” or “ritual behavior.” Most likely the origin is in a religious/cultural observance.

    Even if this is the case, other comments bring up the very valid point that with a voucher system, questions like this would become less common. Though I believe they would still occur. What if the “long hair school” was a poor school, etc.

    There are other questions as well. Can the act of wearing long hair be considered an act of Free Speech? What if the hair was being grown until the Iraq war ended? I know this isn’t the case, but what would the rights of the student be in that case?

    Personally, I think this is an easy decision. Let the student of Native American decent have long hair in the school, so long as it is well groomed etc.

    Christian Lindke (6f6601)

  16. Rhodes started out fine, “We have a lot of people tell us all the time that they move here strictly for the school system. This is just from the opposite side. [Arocha and Betenbaugh] want to move in, yet they want to change this part to fit how they practice or what they believe in,” but he should have known when to shut up. After reading the rest of his explanation, I am not sure I would want to be anywhere he is in charge. In any event, this dress and grooming code appears reasonable and should withstand a court challenge.

    Ira (28a423)

  17. If you allow long hair for girls you have to allow long hair for boys. The parents will win if they go to court

    The sad thing is that this may be true and that this is what our society has come to. There are no rules anymore, no community values. Everything is subject and every value is relative.

    “Hey, I want to move to a community with low crime and good schools b/c they have low crime and good schools, but I want them to change everything they do to fit my desires.” this is a common refrain, and the people uttering it have no clue that the changes they seek will eventualy lead to the area losing its low crime / good school status.

    I see this all the time in the school districts around where I live. There are programs that allow parents in the City school district (which has a less than 50% graduation rate) to send their kids to suburban school districts. Also, some of these parents “move” their kid to live with relatives in the close by suburbs (of course the kids never really live in those suburbs, its just fraud).

    They do this b/c they allegedly want to improve their childrens’ lives. However, these parents then fight the district on everything – every time the suburban district attempts to enforce its rules as related to that child, or discipline that child, the parent fights it tooth and nail (including lawsuits) and the parents are heard to complain that the City schools let the child do this or that. Indeed, I actually heard one such parent actually state “the City schools let the kids smoke pot in the halls, I don’t see why this is a big deal”.

    these people have no clue why some areas have less crime and better schools. They think it is magical and thus don’t undersand (and probably never will) that it is the rules and the discipline derived from the community’s values that create the atmosphere leading to low crime / good schools. [Which is also why these communities actually believe that their problems could magically be fixed by just spending more taxpayer money on this or that, rather than looking at themselves].

    And of course, what always happens is the districts where the City kids start attending end up having increased crime and worse educational results, such that people start moving out of those communities (seeking safer communities with better schools) leading to lower property values, more crime and worse education in those suburbs. I’m seeing it where I live as the nearby suburbs are detiorating rapidly and people are moving further and further out from the City.

    these people think it is simply the location that makes a good school, and not the attitudes and values of the people in the community.

    I wouldn’t think that this is rocket science, but apparently it is.

    Great Banana (e66874)

  18. if the long hair stemmed from a religious belief, it would be no problem. Apparently principles are allowed only if tied to a belief in a higher being of some sort.

    If they believe their kid’s hair is “sacred”, then this is being driven by religious belief – maybe not a belief derived from an organized, high-volume religion’s doctrine, but from the very same basis from which those mass religions spring. “Sacred” has a meaning very different from “principle.” Believing that something is “sacred” takes it out of the realm of moral stricture, and places it firmly into superstition’s world.

    bobby b (361921)

  19. What I find interesting is that, if the long hair stemmed from a religious belief, it would be no problem. Apparently principles are allowed only if tied to a belief in a higher being of some sort.

    This is because religious beliefs are entitled to legal protection, and the school district would run a much greater risk of being sued if they attempted to force a student to go against his religion.

    Yes, it’s stupid, and its very stupidity ought to highlight the danger of having any sort of state recognition of religion, or state-sponsored delineation between religious and non-religious beliefs.

    Regardless, if this is a public school district, they’re in the wrong here. Religious belief or not, they may well find themselves faced with a lawsuit, which they will probably lose. File it under “freedom of expression”, and tell the superintendent that if he wants to promote his social values, not to do it on the taxpayer dime.

    Voice of Reason (f764a1)

  20. Oh, for God’s sake, the kid’s a minor! As such, HAS NO CIVIL RIGHTS!

    Children, historically, are a protected class as opposed to emancipated adult individuals and, as such, are entitled to shelter, clothing, food, education, medical care and those necessities that prepare a minor to become a competent adult upon reaching the age of majority. Any “rights”, such as they are, are vested with the minors parents and may be exercised upon behalf of the child should the child be accused of a crime.

    As for “free expression”, unsupervised liberty, or the possession of weapons these are, within reason, under the parents control and responsibility because minors, by definition, lack the maturity to be responsible for themselves. To allow persons of a protected class to freely express rights in a common taxpayer supported venue such as a public school is, paradoxically, antithetical to the Natural Law basis of the Bill of Rights.

    So get the kid a haircut or he doesn’t go to school! If he doesn’t show up at school, arrest the parents and have them show cause for his truancy.

    C. Norris (cbd5fc)

  21. The parents will win if they go to court.

    Not in Texas, I think. The Texas Supremes have upheld school policies that require short hair for boys only.

    Glen Wishard (02562c)

  22. and tell the superintendent that if he wants to promote his social values, not to do it on the taxpayer dime.

    Would you feel differently if it was the entire community’s values? My guess is that it is such.

    Of course, that would be wrong to. I guess those of us that want a good school, in a good commuity, with good values, discipline, and low crime will have to keep moving every time one of these “progressives” moves in and wants to change what created the good school, low crime in the first place. And, then progressives come up with a million reasons for the crime, bad schools, etc., but never seem to realize that all of that stuff happened when they were succesful in eliminating all community values and morality.

    Again, you would think this isn’t rocket science, but for some of us, apparently it is.

    Great Banana (e66874)

  23. School districts are justified in asking their students to conform to certain standards but I think that authority ends when those standards require a student to alter something on thier physical person. If a school wants all students to wear uniforms, not wear jewelry, etc. that´s all well and good, but asking them to alter thier person seems too invasive to me.

    As the usual somewhat extreme hypothetical, what if the school district required that all students have a temporary tattoo with a bar-code number placed on their forearm so they can be scanned in every day insuring that only students that are registered at that school are in the building (It´s a SAFETY measure you see?) The tatoo would be non permanent and would wear off in 4-6 months, ie. be renewed every semster. Is that OK in the name of safety and “community standards”?

    Even if everyone went to vouchered schools choice might not be available if all the schools in the area became affiliates of “Educational Services Corp.” I SUPPOSE in that case parents could try and sell thier house, find a new job etc. to move thier kids out of that school district…but that is so much more easily SAID than done isn´t it?

    EdWood (9df7cb)

  24. Great Banana’s points have been proven in a study of the effects of Section 8 housing. The link to the study is here. Crime follows the people when they leave the high-crime areas and this story is an example of why.

    Mike K (f89cb3)

  25. Even if everyone went to vouchered schools choice might not be available if all the schools in the area became affiliates of “Educational Services Corp.” I SUPPOSE in that case parents could try and sell thier house, find a new job etc. to move thier kids out of that school district…but that is so much more easily SAID than done isn´t it?

    Certainly could not be any worse than the current state of affairs in most public schools.

    You can’t really be arguing that the fear of monopoly is a good argument against opening up the public school monopoly to competition?

    Great Banana (e66874)

  26. If you allow long hair for girls you have to allow long hair for boys.

    Since when? Schools have gender-based rules for dress, certainly, so how is hair different?

    MamaAJ (788539)

  27. Mike K,

    Most people seem to believe that poverty creates bad morals, criminality, etc. It never occurs to them that it really tends to be the other way around. After all, you can go to plenty of places in the world with much worse poverty than America’s inner cities and not find the violence, etc.

    Maybe a lot of the “poor” (it is relative, these people would not be considered poor in most of the world) in America are poor b/c of their value system, lack of self-discipline, lack of any sense of shame or responsibility, etc?

    Great Banana (e66874)

  28. Gender is an artificial construct anyway. If boys can wear skirts and claim to be girls, why not long hair?

    JD (75f5c3)

  29. Those who argue about the merits of the lawsuit over the rule demonstrate why our schools are such disasters. Every parent now thinks the proper response to a school rule is litigation instead of conforming to it. Two things have destroyed the American K-12 education system, the creation of the vacuous “education” degree and parents who undermine schools in their task as illustrated above.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  30. what SPQR said

    quasimodo (edc74e)

  31. Arocha and Betenbaugh aren’t budging. They plan to take Adriel to kindergarten once the school year starts, even if his teachers send him home every day.

    Oh my. That’s not what I consider good parenting.

    MamaAJ (788539)

  32. A public education is not a right. Plain and simple, it is a privilege. Doubt me? Try getting your kid in the door without the requisite medical clearances and inoculations.

    Unless I can cite a specific civil right, such as religious or political expression, the overwhelming presumption in the law regarding standards enforcement/rules lies with the school. Just as with personal searches in schools – the 4th Amendment does not apply. In this case, the First does not apply as broadly as it might outside the school campus.

    I love this guy. He handled it straight down the line. He knew his law and he knew what his school board demanded. We need thousands more like him.

    Ed (d17ceb)

  33. The real question is whether or not cutting Adriel’s hair will affect his ability to destroy Needville’s giant temple of Dagon.

    They do worship Dagon in Texas right? Especially in the areas close to the water, where some Texicans bear the “Innsmouth Look.” Needville is close enough to Galveston to worry about Dagon and Deep Ones.

    Christian Lindke (6f6601)

  34. Obviously the school districts in Texas have not deteriorated to Southern California levels. As a So Cal district employee two things strike me about this article.

    1- In So Cal, it is the fear of litigation that drives the district – whether from the teachers’ union or parents. And absolutely nothing is off limits to complain about, no matter how frivolous, absurd, or patently ridiculous. Litigation is killing districts.

    2- I have seen principals cave over issues like hair length (at the K-5 I work at, off the top of my head, I can think of 3 boys with hair at least as long as our Samson’s), pierced ears, pierced noses (yes, in elementary), hair color, and questionable clothing.

    Yes, there are handbooks and standards that parents sign at the beginning of each school year wherein they agree to abide by the rules. However, in light of the common knowledge that if one is tenacious enough, one can file a complaint that they are being discriminated against, and utter the most feared word of all, lawsuit, the powers-that-be will jump to their tune in a heartbeat. For as long as you want.

    When Adriel Arocha’s father said, ‘Hey, I want to be progressive.’, I think, yeah, well I see progressive 5 days a week and it ain’t pretty…and it doesn’t stop with hair length. But then again in So Cal, hair length is the least of our problems…

    So good for Texas that they still enforce rules, demand parents (and students) to live up to the standards and don’t capitulate. Not yet anyway.

    Dana (f3e2a8)

  35. What I find interesting is that, if the long hair stemmed from a religious belief, it would be no problem. Apparently principles are allowed only if tied to a belief in a higher being of some sort.

    Strictly speaking, religious beliefs do not need to be tied to a belief in a higher being of some sort to be protected under the First Amendment. For example, Sikhs hold that there is a vague sort of generic deity throughout the universe, but none of the adherent prescriptions are at all related to that deity. The “Five Ks” of the Sikh religion are only the advice of a particularly wise individual, but they’re still protected enough to be protected under current 1st Amendment doctrine.

    I don’t know how TSA handles that for Sikh travelers.

    Sahajdhari (unbaptized) Sikhs are not required to uphold the five Ks, and thus can travel without the kirpan (knife). Khalsa (baptized) Sikhs are typically required to carry one at hand. Not all Sikh find this issue.

    A kirpan is only a defensive tool as a definitional thing — its use outside of self-defense or defense-of-others turns it into a goofy-looking knife, and it’s insulting to call a kirpan a weapon — but it does have the potential to be used as a weapon.

    As a result, it’s treated as roughly the same as any other First Amendment issue; complete bans in public fora are unconstitutional, but Courts are fine with bans in situations where the government holds a compelling government interest and has narrowly tailored the law to a least restrictive means to fulfill that interest. The Courts are not likely to find the interest in keeping bladed weapons out of airplane traveler hands to be less than compelling.

    Sikhs usually stick the kirpan in their checked luggage.

    Oh, for God’s sake, the kid’s a minor! As such, HAS NO CIVIL RIGHTS!

    That’s, strictly speaking, true. Minors can not vote, and are not recognized by the government in a series of situations. But we’re not talking about civil rights.

    Minors have human rights. Non-citizen newborn children are recognized as having those human rights. Freedom of speech is such a human right. It’s also well-recognized as existing in a classroom — see Tinker. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 17 or 19 preaching on the sidewalk; the courts will treat a first amendment challenge the same.

    Minors in a classroom setting have limited rights, but so does anyone else in a non-public fora. It does not matter if you’ve been held back four or five grades or not; the requirements are still lower.

    I’m not certain this restriction would be allowed even under those limited viewpoints. Non-disruptive symbolic speech is constitutionally protected, and if there’s any knowable real meaning behind the boy’s decision to not cut his hair, it may well be symbolic speech. Religious exemptions would be more difficult, but primarily over the question of whether or not this was actually a religious belief rather than a personal practice. You don’t need a lot of people to believe things for them to fall under Free Exercise — after all, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Satanists provide most of the relevant case law — but it’s hard to argue one person’s choices to be religious.

    gattsuru (1be9e7)

  36. “Most people seem to believe that poverty creates bad morals, criminality, etc. It never occurs to them that it really tends to be the other way around. ”

    The Depression in the US saw huge swaths of poverty with hobo camps and 25% unemployment. Crime, however, did not increase except for the organized crime that was a phenomenon of the era of Prohibition.

    Social rules are more important than poverty in determining crime rates. Cut the kid’s hair.

    Mike K (6d4fc3)

  37. The kid and his father have native american heritage, and as the father relates it in the linked newspaper report (which is very well written and balanced) the long hair holds strong traditional cultural meaning for him. One might even argue that long hair is the “conservative” position within his culture (and you certainly couldn’t call it unamerican). If it goes to court, the school board will very likely lose.

    Nobody seems to be hoping it will go that far – the parents appeal to the school board is pending. The parents have a fairly compelling reason for the exemption (which is unlikely to open any kind of floodgate), and the American Indian Movement is backing them. All the school board has to gain in denying the exemption is legal fees. Fees that the school board can ill afford as some non-conforming (but presumably well groomed ) student burned down part of a school building last year.

    Bob Loblaw (6d485c)

  38. A public education is not a right. Plain and simple, it is a privilege.
    Uh, I don’t think someone you pay for is a “privilege”. Say I buy a milkshake but you don’t give me the milkshake. I think that I have a right to that milkshake.

    Polybius (9170d4)

  39. Again, the parents chose to move to the school district in order to provide a better education for their son, but they want an exception to the rules? Isn’t that what a private education’s for?

    Dmac (416471)

  40. “Say I buy a milkshake but you don’t give me the milkshake. I think that I have a right to that milkshake?”

    So if I follow your tortured analogy, because a taxpayer is only one of many who contributed taxes into the school district, you have the wide latitude to ignore the school district’s public rules, rules that everyone in the district’s already agreed to? BTW, one more inconvenient fact for your scenario – they just moved into the district, so in essence have paid nothing in terms of taxes for the school district’s funding.

    In reality, according to your calculations, they have no rights in this matter, correct?

    Dmac (416471)

  41. Uh, I don’t think someone you pay for is a “privilege”.

    So which state do you live in that gives away driver’s licenses for free, and don’t have vehicle title and licensing fees?

    And what about the rights of all of those people who pay property taxes but don’t have any kids in the school? Do they have the right to dictate policy? What if they rent and the owner lives in a different State? The person who (in your scenario) has the voice loses it because he lives elsewhere…

    Best to let the community as a whole decide who they want on their school boards…

    JMO

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  42. Dmac, I think you’re reading way too much into my comment if you think I mean that they have the right to do whatever they want.

    My comment makes the more general point that public education is not a privilege granted to the hoi polloi by a wise and benevolent governemnt. It is a service paid for by the taxpayers (and as the family in question bought a house there they will be paying property taxes). So, the right to education is certainly not unlimated. But we shouldn’t start with the presumption that it’s a privilege.

    (Also, Drumwaster, if you pay for a driver’s license you have the right to get one. That’s, like, my entire point. Your right is not unlimited, you can lose your license for various infractions.)

    Polybius (9170d4)

  43. if you pay for a driver’s license you have the right to get one.

    Driving is a privilege, not a right. (IOW, paying for the license doesn’t mean it can’t be suspended with the stroke of a pen.) That has been established long ago. And having a license to drive doesn’t mean that the State has to give you a car, nor does it mean that you get a waiver on the other fees that are required every year.

    Driving is a privilege specifically BECAUSE it can be withheld from you for multiple misdemeanors, as opposed to the rights you lose when convicted of a felony.

    But we shouldn’t start with the presumption that it’s a privilege.

    Why not? That’s what it is

    If it were a “right”, the schools would not have the authority to suspend or expel trouble-makers.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  44. “the parents chose to move to the school district in order to provide a better education for their son”

    Dmac: that doesn’t actually appear to be the case – at least no one involved is contending that.

    Bob Loblaw (6d485c)

  45. Given the father’s grammar, the parents should be more concerned with their son’s education than his hair:

    “In my fantasy world, I would have went in, pled my case, let them meet my son, and the community I’ve chosen to live in would have said, ‘Hey, I want to be progressive.’ Unfortunately, that isn’t what happened,” Arocha says. “We had one person tell us it would be easier to sell the property and move. They didn’t say it maliciously. They just said it would be easier on ourselves and our son if we moved to a more tolerant ­environment.”

    DRJ (92ca6f)

  46. The parents hired an attorney and appealed the Superintendent’s decision to the Needville school district. Tonight the school district denied the parents’ appeal. The mother stated she plans to take the case to court.

    DRJ (92ca6f)

  47. Boy, what a “hairy” mess

    First off, a free and appropriate public education is a right of all residents of the United States. The school has a right and duty to present a proper learning environment for the students, which sometimes allows for the removal of disruptive elements. Hair length, I believe, as a dress code item, was fought over in the 1960’s (Tinker v. Des Moines), and schools were found to not be able to ban non-disruptive personal expressions. Interestingly enough, the only time something like hair length has been school enforceable is with extra-curricular activities.

    Second, education is not only a right in the United States, you must take direct action to waive it. (Like the Miranda and the Fifth or plea bargaining and the Sixth amendment). That is, I may give up my right to assemble by staying home, my right to free speech by keeping silent, or my Second Amendment rights by being unarmed but my right to an FAE can only be waived by direct action of the parents.

    MunDane (d3328f)

  48. First off, a free and appropriate public education is a right of all residents of the United States.

    Show me where the Constitution says this.

    Please.

    I’ll be over here, not holding my breath.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  49. This analysis discusses the Texas Supreme Court holding in Board of Trustees of Bastrop Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Toungate, 41 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 48 (Tex. 1997), that ruled Texas school districts are “empowered to establish dress and grooming codes for students that included hair-length restrictions for male students.” As a result, the author states Texas courts generally defer to the judgment of the school authorities. The Court in Toungate distinguished Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Comm. Sch. Dist., however I don’t think either case involves a claim that religion justified or required the student’s conduct.

    But the author does mention one case arising in the Fifth Circuit that combined religion and hair length:

    “In 1993, a federal court ruled that punishing Native American students for a violation of a district’s hair-length restriction violated the students’ sincerely held religious beliefs under the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the students’ right to symbolic expression. Alabama and Coushatta Tribes of Texas v. Big Sandy Indep. Sch. Dist., 817 F.Supp. 1319 (E.D. Tex. 1993), remanded without opinion, 20 F.3d 469 (5th Cir. 1994).(FN3) But see: Karr v. Schmidt, 460 F.2d 609, 613-614 (5th Cir. 1992).
    ***
    FN3. The ruling was appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which remanded for a determination whether the long hair restriction violated the students’ rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). However, the case was settled without further decision and prior to the Court’s decision that RFRA was unconstitutional. The Educator’s Guide to Texas School Law, Kemerer and Walsh, 4th Ed., University of Texas Press, 1996; But see: City of Boerne v. Flores, 117 S.Ct. 2157 (1997).”

    DRJ (92ca6f)

  50. “Minors have human rights.”

    Oh please, the boy’s “human rights” are not being violated. He’s in the loving care and custody of his parents, he’s clothed, fed and sheltered from the elements and may express his “beliefs” under his parents roof. And if the boy, or presumably his parents, want to express whatever it is his long hair expresses, they are free to do so as well. They are free to home school, send the boy to a private school, or start one of their own liking that will accommodate their eccentricities (religious or otherwise).

    However, to compel a taxpayer supported public (read common) school to modify rules that are applied to all students in support of a quality learning environment is to force the supposed “rights(?)” of one student to violate the protections of the other students, as a protected class (and their parents), to learn in a “non-controversial” educational environment.

    “Tinker v Des Moines” be damned! There are better decisions since Tinker.

    C. Norris (42ae0e)

  51. Under both the the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Eaducation Act) the principal of free education was set forth for all children, including disabled ones.

    Both laws have been challenged in the SCOTUS, and both have been upheld.

    If you study Constitutional law, the idea of a compulsory education for children actually predates the founding of the nation. That would, in most cases, fall under that ‘natural law’ penumbra that Assoc. Justice Thomas references in speeches.

    MunDane (d3328f)

  52. dammit…”principle” not “principal”

    MunDane (d3328f)

  53. Drumwaster:

    First off, a free and appropriate public education is a right of all residents of the United States.

    Show me where the Constitution says this.

    Please.

    I’ll be over here, not holding my breath.

    Good thing, too, since no one can go without breathing for a couple of hours. In your case, it’s found at Article IX, Section 5.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  54. That doesn’t say anything about it being a right, just that the Legislature needs to fund such a system. They also fund the roads, but I can’t drive along them if my PRIVILEGE to do so is revoked.

    Education is essential, no doubt. Critical, even. And if there is going to alternative routes to gain an education, then it isn’t a right, it’s a COMMODITY, to be bought and sold just like everything else.

    Section 1 (at the top of that page you link to) says: “A general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, the Legislature shall encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral, and agricultural improvement.”

    How can a government “encourage” a right? A right is something that exists completely aside from governments, and our laws are designed to prevent government intrusion upon them. Education doesn’t meet this description.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  55. That doesn’t say anything about it being a right, just that the Legislature needs to fund such a system.

    Nonsense. By requiring the Legislature to make the schools, and that they be free, it clearly establishes free education as a constitutional right. Besides, MunDane never claimed that it was a constitutional right, anyway. All he said was that it was a right; you made the constituitonal part up. Even if your phony “rights vs. privileges” distinction had any merit, a search for references to “rights” in the California Education Code generates too many hits to count. Feel free to read all 326 entries before embarassing yourself further.

    How can a government “encourage” a right?

    What on earth kind of moron question is that? Government encourages individuals to exercise certain rights all the time. If government encourages its citizens to vote, on what planet does that translate into voting not being a right?!

    Xrlq (b71926)

  56. “If you study Constitutional law, the idea of a compulsory education for children actually predates the founding of the nation. That would, in most cases, fall under that ‘natural law’ penumbra that Assoc. Justice Thomas references in speeches.” By MunDane — at #51.

    Exactly! The lioness teaches her cubs to hunt, the Antelope her young to run. It is the way of Nature that the young are taught what is necessary to survive and perpetuate the species by the adults. The ‘natural right’ of the subject child to be well taught for the benefit of his survival is beyond any “cosmetic” considerations. Therefore, in the grand scheme of things, his “Pony Tail” is a luxury but it is not a “right”!

    C. Norris (f4bc88)

  57. “…it’s found at Article IX, Section 5.”
    Link and comment by Xrlq at #53.

    You link to the California Constitution. If the UN foisted this “constitution” upon a beginning country, it would be considered a human rights violation.

    C. Norris (f4bc88)

  58. If government encourages its citizens to vote, on what planet does that translate into voting not being a right?!

    I asked for one thing (the location in the Constitution), you provided something completely different (the California Constitution that doesn’t actually say what you claim that it says), and wanted to pretend they are the same thing. I’m not going to play along. If you want me to start listing all the numerous things that are specifically identified as a “right” in the California Constitution, then I’m going to demand that you play along by explaining why the State Legislators chose to NOT identify education as another right (such as freedom of religion, freedom of expression, etc.)?

    You are arguing the same kind of nonsense that says the word “people” in the Second Amendment only means government employees.

    And on what planet does the California State Constitution cover “all residents of the United States” (as was posited in the original inanity uttered above, and which also conveniently ignores the “legal” resident part, but apparently requires that we teach every Tomas, Ricardo and Jose who manages to sneak across the border)?

    Education is not something that a government should be involved in in the first place.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  59. However, to compel a taxpayer supported public (read common) school to modify rules that are applied to all students in support of a quality learning environment is to force the supposed “rights(?)” of one student to violate the protections of the other students, as a protected class (and their parents), to learn in a “non-controversial” educational environment.

    It’s long hair. Do you really want that to be the lowest requirement to disrupt a ‘quality learning environment’? That’d allow schools to ban nearly any viewpoint, position, or form of speech or symbolic speech.

    Oh please, the boy’s “human rights” are not being violated. He’s in the loving care and custody of his parents, he’s clothed, fed and sheltered from the elements and may express his “beliefs” under his parents roof.

    There’s no human right to clothing, food, or shelter from the elements. Those things do not exist on their own; they either has to be earned or provided.

    There is an inherent, constitutional, and human right to freedom of speech and religion under the laws of the United States, and that freedom of speech and freedom of religion extends to all public fora, not just an individual’s home. The right is more limited in non-public fora, such as schools, but it is not extinguished, and if it covers anything it covers non-disruptive symbolic speech.

    There’s been quite a bit of post-Tinker cases, but none of them involve non-obscene, non-indecent, and non-disruptive speech.

    gattsuru (1be9e7)

  60. Timewaster:

    I asked for one thing (the location in the Constitution),

    In response to a commenter’s statement that has nothing to do with the Constitution – you siomply made that crap up.

    you provided something completely different (the California Constitution

    Becuase that’s the state you’re in, dumbass. Had you referenced any other state, I’d have been happy to look it up there, instead.

    that doesn’t actually say what you claim that it says),

    Right, it only says that the legislature must provide its citizens with free education, not th at the citizens have a right to a free education.

    and wanted to pretend they are the same thing. I’m not going to play along.

    In other words, you are too fucking stupid to admit you were in over your head, or even to acknolwedge the simple facts that (1) not all rights are codified in the Constitution or (2) an obligation of the state to provide X to its citizens is a right on the part of the citizens to obtain X from the state.

    If you want me to start listing all the numerous things that are specifically identified as a “right” in the California Constitution, then I’m going to demand that you play along by explaining why the State Legislators chose to NOT identify education as another right (such as freedom of religion, freedom of expression, etc.)?

    Asked and answered. One party’s right is the other’s obligation. If the Legislature has an obligation to provide you with X, then you have a right to receive it. If it doesn’t, you don’t. Period, end of story.

    You are arguing the same kind of nonsense that says the word “people” in the Second Amendment only means government employees.

    What part of your ass did you pull that out of?

    And on what planet does the California State Constitution cover “all residents of the United States” (as was posited in the original inanity uttered above, and which also conveniently ignores the “legal” resident part, but apparently requires that we teach every Tomas, Ricardo and Jose who manages to sneak across the border)?

    I never claimed that the California constitution applies to the entire country. You’re the one who asked where “the Constitution” [singular] said education was a right. Your state was free, but if actually expect me to research all 50 states, it’s going to cost you.

    Education is not something that a government should be involved in in the first place.

    Sez you. But the law says it is, and rights are what the law says they are, not what some puffed up blogger personally believes they ought to be. Had you merely claimed that free education should not be a right, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, would we?

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  61. In response to a commenter’s statement that has nothing to do with the Constitution – you siomply made that crap up.

    Look, SFB, you can say that you have a “right” to free health care, too, and even get lots of other morons to agree with you, but that doesn’t make you right.

    Education is NOT a right. The bit about the Constitution was to point out someone else’s stupidity (that you are now defending and expanding upon).

    Becuase that’s the state you’re in, dumbass. Had you referenced any other state, I’d have been happy to look it up there, instead.

    I’m not the one who referenced “every resident in the United States”, which would mean that it would be the US Constitution under discussion. I also pointed that out to you, but you’ve chosen to defend your own stupidity, so I will invite you – again – to explain how California’s Constitution covers “all residents in the United States”, which was what was asserted above.

    Otherwise, sit your stupid ass back down and have a nice big cup of STFU juice, because you don’t understand the argument being made.

    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

    Right, it only says that the legislature must provide its citizens with free education, not th at the citizens have a right to a free education.

    So the California Legislature covers the entire US? Or are you just another idiot? Never mind. I already know the answer to that one.

    One party’s right is the other’s obligation.

    Better exhale. My right to free speech is your obligation to shut the fuck up. (That’s how it works, right?)

    The California legislature offers educations to those who can’t afford it from private schools, but there is no obligation to attend them. The State can “encourage” it all they want, but if parents choose to keep their kids home and not let them attend public schools, does that mean that those parents are somehow violating the rights of the children? Of course not. If the State pays for some hospitals, does that mean we have an obligation to use only those hospitals?

    Just because the State pays the bills does not make it a right, because other States have different rules. Nor would the State be able to suspend that “right” through administrative action (suspending or expelling students).

    What part of your ass did you pull that out of?

    You’re arguing inaccurate analogies, and I just pointed it out. Not my fault if you can’t keep up with your own nonsense.

    I never claimed that the California constitution applies to the entire country.

    Yes, you did. I asked (in response to the claim at #47, “First off, a free and appropriate public education is a right of all residents of the United States“) where in the Constitution that “right” appeared. You responded with a link to the California Constitution.

    You can pretend all you want, but when someone is speaking of the United States, and is asked about “the Constitution”, they DON’T mean just the one where YOU live.

    Your state was free, but if actually expect me to research all 50 states, it’s going to cost you.

    Sue me, fckwd. I asked about the Constitution. You were the one who only thinks that the State Constitution was what I meant when speaking of “all residents of the United States”.

    Finally, Qmtzxk, or whatever your name is, quit wasting my time forcing me to point out your mistakes. I’ve got better things to do than to slap you around like the sockpuppet you so long to become.

    You’re the one who asked where “the Constitution” [singular] said education was a right.

    You allege to be a lawyer, but can’t understand that when the subject is “the United States”, there IS only one [singular] Constitution being discussed? Cracker-Jack U, huh?

    Had you merely claimed that free education should not be a right, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, would we?

    Had you bothered to actually read what I had written the first time, we wouldn’t be having this conversation either, now would we? I know, being stupid comes so naturally for you, you really can’t help yourself, but try

    Now run along. Grups are talking.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  62. With everything that is being said about conforming and discipline and the idea that short hair on boys leads to better discipline and less disruption, I have to wonder how one of the Needville ISD male students, with short hair and one would assume, discipline, managed to partially burn their high school down. You have to wonder how they can see that and think that their strict rules about hair and dress code are really accomplishing anything.

    Linda (f0f427)

  63. When I started kindergarten back in 1959 (yes, they let people get this old) it was certainly life changing for me. Starting school has long been a life changing event for children everywhere. As a life changing event it is something the boy can have his hair cut for.

    You did read that bit about life changing events and the child getting his hair cut.

    Alan Kellogg (e4eab6)

  64. Look, SFB, you can say that you have a “right” to free health care, too, and even get lots of other morons to agree with you, but that doesn’t make you right.

    Sure it does. If enough people push to change the law to say that free health care is a right, then it is a right. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened, and hopefully, it never will. But if it does we’ll be reduced to arguing that health care should not be a right, not that it isn’t.

    Education is NOT a right.

    In the World According to Dumptaster, that’s correct. In practically every country in the world, and all 50 states of this one, it’s not. You can argue till the cows come home that education should not be a right, but to argue that it isn’t is to argue from a position of ignorance.

    The bit about the Constitution was to point out someone else’s stupidity (that you are now defending and expanding upon).

    Bringing up the Constitution was your stupidity, not his. All he said was that education was a right throughout the U.S. He didn’t say that right was codified in any constitution, let alone the federal one. You just made that part up.

    I’m not the one who referenced “every resident in the United States”, which would mean that it would be the US Constitution under discussion.

    Like hell it would. “Every resident in the United States” says nothing about any constitution, state or federal. Education has always been a chiefly state, not federal function, so of course you weren’t going to find anything about it in the federal Constitution. He did say the entire U.S., though, so there’s a simple way you could win the argument if your position had any merit: identify one measly state whose constitution and laws do NOT establish a right to free K-12 education. Of course you can’t do that, as no such state exists.

    Yes, you did. I asked (in response to the claim at #47, “First off, a free and appropriate public education is a right of all residents of the United States”) where in the Constitution that “right” appeared. You responded with a link to the California Constitution

    You asked a stupid question, so short of researching all 50 state constitutions, I provided the least stupid answer possible. No one ever claimed K-12 was a constitutional right, only that it’s a right, but seeing as it happens to be a constitutional right in your state, I figured that was worth pointing out.

    You allege to be a lawyer, but can’t understand that when the subject is “the United States”, there IS only one [singular] Constitution being discussed? Cracker-Jack U, huh?

    Cracker jack indeed. You’re the one who brought up The Constitution, either singular or plural. That lent itself to two possible readings:

    1. Dumptaster is a retard who expects the federal constitution to say anything about a governmental function that has always been the province of the states.
    2. Dumptaster is a bit dim to expect all rights to be codified in any constitution, but he’s probably not a complete retard, so when he asked what part of “the Constitution” guarantees a right to a service that has traditionally been the province of the states, he must have meant a state constitutional provision from his own state, or one state that is largely representative of the other 49.

    Charitable guy that I am, I gave you the benefit of the doubt and assumed #2 rather than #1. My bad. From now on, anytime you post anything remotely ambiguous, I promise to assume that the more retarded of the two possible meanings is the one you actually intended.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  65. “It’s long hair. Do you really want that to be the lowest requirement to disrupt a ‘quality learning environment’? That’d allow schools to ban nearly any viewpoint, position, or form of speech or symbolic speech.” gattsuru at #59.

    No, not me, it’s the boy’s father who is creating hair length as an issue out of whole cloth by claiming; “Hey, I want to be progressive”. Progress is in the eye of the beholder. And in this case the father is projecting his own childhood trauma’s onto his kid when his own hair was cut for school:

    ” Arocha’s [the father] hair grew long when he was a child. The day before kindergarten started, however, Arocha’s mother took him to the barber for a buzz cut.”

    “I remember screaming, because I didn’t understand. Then I went home, and my mom said I could go to school,” Arocha says. “I don’t fault her for it. It was easier for her; it was what was expected to do.”

    This is the doings of a father who may me a few feathers shy of a full ceremonial headdress:

    “A few years ago, Arocha [the father] had several surgeries to correct malformations in his brain, and he pleaded with the doctors not to shave his head. The doctors eventually agreed.

    Actually, I would have had no problem with the parent’s wishes had they approached this situation as a privilege, instead of a right. As long as the kid showed up at school with his hair braided, as in the picture, and with the understanding that it was an individual special dispensation only unto him. If he appeared at school with his hair un-braided he should be sent home. In time, and with maturity, he will grow tired of the predicament his father burdened him with and rebel by getting a serviceable haircut. This issue isn’t Constitutional, it’s mental.

    C. Norris (dec117)

  66. Dumbwaiter has been making shit up about the law (and just about everything else) since he first came here.

    But I think C. Norris #65 nailed it. It’s all about the father.

    (My father was very proud of my hair. Whether in Elvis Presley curls when I was sixteen or shoulder length when I was nineteen. He understood why I had to get a “ruling class” haircut but he never liked it.)

    nk (8eafa0)

  67. Dumbwaiter has been making shit up about the law (and just about everything else) since he first came here.

    Actually, he/she/it has been spewing retarded crap for much longer than that.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  68. You dimwits can’t get anything right, can you? Insults are all you have, and you blame me for your lack of reading comprehension.

    What is it about the phrase “the United States” that makes you confuse it with the word “California”?

    And show me where the Federal Government (the government of “the United States”) has any authority to provide an education, or (failing that) where education is a right under the US Constitution. (I have to make that formal distinction because you have proven yourself incapable of drawing accurate conclusions from context.)

    So, gfkyrslfkthxbai

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  69. What is it about the phrase “the United States” that makes you confuse it with the word “California”?

    Last time I checked, California was still one of those “United States,” and the other 49 all have similar laws on the books. I’m still waiting for you to disprove this by identifying one state – just one measly state in a sea of 50 – in which a free K-12 education is not a right. Hell, I’d settle for a single U.S. territory or possession. Show me one populated area anywhere within the the broadest conceivable definition of “the United States” in which a free K-12 education is not a right, and I’ll concede your point. Until you do, I have no choice but to write you off as a retard who doesn’t grasp the concept that individual states have governments of their own.

    And show me where the Federal Government (the government of “the United States”) has any authority to provide an education, or (failing that) where education is a right under the US Constitution.

    Why on earth should I? No one in this thread ever claimed that the federal Constitution (or any other constitution, for that mattter, except California’s) said word one about education. You just made that crap up, and went on to repeatedly demand that others “show” you something no one had ever claimed to exist in the first place.

    You’re obviously in way over your head, Dumptaster, so what say from now on you confine yourself to debating with fellow retards. Maybe our host can set up a thread for that very purpose, in which only you, j curtis, Levi and BigIslandDave are allowed to participate. Shift-challenged-troll could officiate, while the rest of us just sit back, chow down on the popcorn and enjoy the blogosphere’s answer to the Special Olympics. Don’t worry, we’ll all call you “winners” when it’s over. Deal?

    Xrlq (b71926)

  70. You’re obviously in way over your head, Dumptaster,

    From a guy whose nym sounds like a cat throwing up, this is hilarious.

    Why on earth should I?

    Because you are the one defending his statement. He can’t be bothered to actually back up his nonsense, and you step into his shoes, the burden remains with you. Until then, confine yourself to things you know about. Like how much you make each night at various glory holes.

    You don’t like how that works, tough shit. (Something else you are familiar with.)

    Show me one populated area anywhere within the the broadest conceivable definition of “the United States” in which a free K-12 education is not a right

    Try any national map. You don’t get it, and I’m tired of trying to teach the stupid, so carry on with your fantasies without me. (Nice try at moving the goalposts, too. Almost rises to the level of subhuman.)

    Gfkyrslfkthxbai.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  71. Because you are the one defending his statement.

    His statement, not yours. He never said that any constitution said anything about education. You did. That part was your statement. You defend it.

    Try any national map. You don’t get it…

    Oh, I get it all right. You either (1) an all-around idiot who can’t admit it when he’s wrong or (2) an even bigger idiot who doesn’t understand that a country called “United States of America” is actually a group of united … oh, what’s the word for this … STATES???????!!!!!!! Or that these constituent states might have laws of their own?

    Now that you allegedly understand that The United States is made up of states, perhaps you can strain what passes for your brain just a leetle bit, and understand that there are two ways that a statement like “a free and appropriate public education is a right of all residents of the United States” can be true. One possible way is for The United States as a nation to have a federal law (constitutional or otherwise) establishing a free and appropriate public education as a right of all residents of the country. The other is for all 50 states to do the same thing on their own. We all know there is no general federal right to an education, which has always been the province of the states. Thus, for MunDane and me to be right, we have to be right 50 times. You, on other hand, only have to be right once. So go ahead, produce that one state, territory or possession of the United States whose laws do not establish a free K-12 or equivalent education as a right of all residents. You can’t, of course, because no such state exists. Therefore, MunDane was right and you are every bit as wrong as any dumbass who argues murder is legal in the U.S. because there is no general federal law prohibiting that, either.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  72. He never said that any constitution said anything about education.

    He said it was a “right” for “all residents of the United States”.

    However, you have since changed his argument – that you are defending – from “all residents of the United States” to “K-12 education in California”.

    He is wrong. So are you. Learn to deal with that.

    We all know there is no general federal right to an education

    Which is what I have been saying.

    Look, his argument was that “a free and appropriate public education is a right of all residents of the United States”. You are now saying there is no “federal right” to an education, but that the States cover it all.

    I’m saying that isn’t the case, and asking for where it says that in the Constitution. You have provided ONE that might have an arguable case supporting your argument.

    You have stipulated that one of the ways you want to interpret it is not true, but are demanding that I come up with the evidence that the other isn’t true.

    That’s not how it works. He made a claim, and has not provided any evidence to back it up.

    I called him on it.

    You then jumped in with 2% of the evidence needed, and demanded that I go out and find counter evidence, rather than actually providing the evidence you cannot find yourself.

    It is not my responsibility to disprove the statement. It is up to the proponents of the statement to prove it with positive evidence.

    You claim to be an attorney. You have just assumed the position of the prosecutor, and said “John Doe is guilty of murder because I say so, and the only evidence I can find is that he once met the victim.”

    You’re FAR short of meeting the burden of proof you accepted, and all I have to do is wait for you to actually provide the evidence that actually PROVES the statement that was made.

    When you fail, I will politely accept your apology. If you manage to provide the evidence, I will gladly admit that I was wrong. If.

    Until then, gfkyrslf.

    Therefore, MunDane was right and you are every bit as wrong as any dumbass who says murder is legal in the U.S. because there is no general federal law prohibiting that, either.

    Too bad you’re such a moron, or I would have fun slapping you around for saying something so stupid. As it is, you can’t help yourself. Like Tourette’s for Stupid. (Carlin must have taken his “Three Kinds of Stupid” from direct observation of you…)

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  73. Look, his argument was that “a free and appropriate public education is a right of all residents of the United States”. You are now saying there is no “federal right” to an education, but that the States cover it all.

    I’m saying that isn’t the case, and asking for where it says that in the Constitution. You have provided ONE that might have an arguable case supporting your argument.

    So, what are you saying here? If we do the research on the Constitutions of all 50 states and find that every one of them provides for education of its residents, will you agree with Xlrq? Or will you still insist that there is no right to public education enjoyed by all residents of the United States?

    I’d be happy to research this, but not if you’re going to remain obstinate.

    Just one more question: if something isn’t mentioned in the US Constitution, does that mean it isn’t a right? After all, there’s nothing in the US Constitution about marriage, and yet people still have the right to marry. There’s nothing in the Constitution about the right to travel to other countries, and yet that right exists. So, the argument that there’s no right to public education simply because it’s not in the US Constitution is fairly weak.

    Steverino (1dda08)

  74. Look, his argument was that “a free and appropriate public education is a right of all residents of the United States”. You are now saying there is no “federal right” to an education, but that the States cover it all.

    Correct. He never said whether the right was federal vs. state or constitutional vs. statutory. You jumped to the conclusion that he meant both federal and constitutional. What I am “now” saying (translation: what I’ve been saying all along, and you just finally managed to figure out) is that education, like most other issues, has always been the provience of the states. That alone doesn’t say whether his original statement was correct or incorrect; all it tells is where to look for the answer.

    You then jumped in with 2% of the evidence needed, and demanded that I go out and find counter evidence, rather than actually providing the evidence you cannot find yourself.

    I provided 100% of the evidence relevant to you and 10% of the evidence needed for the U.S. population at large. You, on the other hand, have provided 0% of the evidence needed to prove your claim, were it indeed provable, for either your state or any other. And yet you have the gall to whine about me not having met my burden of proof, when you haven’t provided an iota of proof to support anything.

    As to the idiotic assumption that I “cannot” repeat the experiment 49 more times if I wanted to, let’s just say that I’ve got better things to do than to waste that much time proving something 99% of the population already knew to be true, and which you were simply too lazy or stupid to research yourself. If you’re so goddamned sure that a free K-12 education is not a right throughout the U.S., then it shouldn’t be all that hard for you to identify just ONE jurisdiction within the U.S. where that is actually the case. Then, rather than spinning my wheels proving the obvious in the other 48 states, I can easily research the laws of that one state only. But pick your state carefully, because if you turn out to be wrong on that state (and trust me, you will), you must then publicly admit to being full of crap, and voluntarily ban yourself not only from this blog but from the Internet entirely, including your own pathetic little blog, for a period of at least 10 days. Deal?

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  75. You, on the other hand, have provided 0% of the evidence needed to prove your claim, were it indeed provable, for either your state or any other.

    I don’t have the burden of proof. I’m the one that was asking for the proof to be provided.

    Still waiting, Mr. Catvomit.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  76. I don’t have the burden of proof. I’m the one that was asking for the proof to be provided.

    Yes, you do. My school district has the duty to provide an education to special needs children, even before kindergarten, but we have to duty to educate a retard like you. Finish high school or get your GED, finish college, finish law school, get 25 years experience practicing law, and then come back talking about burdens of proof, retard.

    nk (d1fed7)

  77. Dana, at 34: I found your comment highly confusing, because I assumed you were the Dana from here. I sincerely hope one of the two of you will add something to differentiate yourselves. :)

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  78. aphrael, as long it was only confusing because of the same names!

    When the other Dana comments here, he now uses his last name to avoid said confusion. Dana Pico.

    Dana (f3e2a8)

  79. as long it was only confusing because of the same names!

    It was. :) “Wait a minute, I thought Dana lived in Pennsylvania … oh! It’s a different Dana. :)”

    When the other Dana comments here, he now uses his last name to avoid said confusion. Dana Pico.

    Good enough for me. :)

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  80. Finish high school or get your GED, finish college, finish law school, get 25 years experience practicing law, and then come back talking about burdens of proof, retard.

    Fine. According to you morons, the one demanding proof for a comment is now responsible for disproving the negative.

    Thus, I assert that you have been convicted of murder and drug dealing and Catvomit is guilty of male prostitution. According to the standards you have just set, it is now up to you to search through all 50 States and the Federal criminal dockets and prove that you haven’t.

    Gee, this is fun.

    Lawyers like you give the other 1% a bad name.

    Go ahead. Prove me wrong.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  81. Finish high school or get your GED, finish college, finish law school, get 25 years experience practicing law, and then come back talking about burdens of proof, retard.

    I don’t think that’s quite fair. :) To be sure, ‘burden of proof’ is a term of art when applied in a legal setting, and in that context has a precise meaning, the understanding of which could be enhanced by going to law school and practicing law.

    But ‘burden of proof’ also has a colloquial meaning when used outside of a legal setting; and while that meaning may have evolved from the meaning encapsulated by the legal term of art, the meanings have diverged. Someone without legal experience is certainly capable of, and entitled to, make observations about what the term means, and how it is used, in everyday speech.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  82. It has ALWAYS been the responsibility of the one asserting the claim to provide evidence sufficient to prove the statement.

    Some moron asserted something (comment #47), I asked for proof (#48), and these two (ahem) “lawyers” ignore everything they have learned, just to pick a fight. (The fact that I’m having fun making them look foolish is beside the point.)

    I’m waiting for them to catch on to their collective mistakes, but the single-digit IQs they have displayed to date means that I won’t be holding my breath.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  83. Red light does not mean stop and green light does not mean go. We can go on like this forever.

    Drumwaster, I will address you civilly and patiently, just this once, despite the way you have treated Xrlq and Scott Jacobs. Not all rights derive from The Constitution or John Locke’s scrivenings. There are statutes in all fifty states, charters of many more school districts in all those states, and U.S. Department of Education regulations which do grant something that cannot be called anything other than a right to education K-12. In fact, for special needs children, you may find that they grant a right to special education including a “one on one” teachers’ aide from age three. If you were to take the most relevant and on-point laws on the subject of elementary and high school education, you would still need a semi to haul them away.

    We are not all lawyers in my family. We also have college department heads, tenured professors, school teachers, and school principals. But, more importantly, we have children in school. We know what our childrens’ rights and expectations are each and every moment of the day.

    Peace.

    nk (d1fed7)

  84. It has ALWAYS been the responsibility of the one asserting the claim to provide evidence sufficient to prove the statement.

    Believe it or not, there are situations in the law where this is not true. The burden of production of evidence can shift several times over the course of pre-trial proceedings.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  85. Red light does not mean stop and green light does not mean go. We can go on like this forever.

    That depends on what the meaning of ‘means’ is. :)

    Words mean what people use them to mean. But it’s pretty common for different groups of people to use the identical words to mean subtly different things. See, for example, ‘liberal’, which means something entirely different in the hands of an Englishman than an American.

    I think ‘burden of proof’ is one such word: lawyers have a technical meaning for it, but common speech has a looser meaning.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  86. For me to prove to Drumwaster the right to a K-12 education in every wide spot in the road in the United States, I would have to drive a semi full of laws to his door and he would have to read them. For him to prove me wrong, all he has to do is pick just one wide spot in the road where that is not true.

    nk (d1fed7)

  87. Did I say wide spot in the road? I take it back. In the rickiest shack at the end of a mountain trail in the Ozarks.

    nk (d1fed7)

  88. NK: I agree with the allocation of the burden of proof to Drumwaster; it’s far more efficient. I just don’t like the claim that only lawyers are competent to define the term.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  89. That’s not what I said. The law is a profession with a certain baseline of competence and legal knowledge. And legal reasoning. We no more need to put every layman who wants to make up stuff about the law through law school any more than we need to try to convince the homeless panhandler on the corner that the Kaiser is not really out to steal his string.

    nk (d1fed7)

  90. Believe it or not, there are situations in the law where this is not true.

    First, this isn’t a court of law, and second, the burden will shift to whoever is making the assertion being considered. Under most circumstances it is up to the prosecution to prove all the elements of the case beyond any reasonable doubt, and all the defense has to do is cast doubt on the assertions and evidence presented, coming up with sometimes outrageous claims to impeach the evidence and provide what he hopes to be “reasonable doubt”. (Whether he actually succeeds won’t be known until later.)

    There are also certain affirmative defenses for certain crimes that require the defense to provide proof of the circumstances required for such a defense (such as “self-defense” for murder), but it is still the rule that the person making the claim has to be able to prove it or the statement will be assumed to be false.

    As I said, someone asserted something I do not believe is true (after all, some people assert free health care is a “right”, but that does not make it true), and I asked for evidence.

    Those (let’s be polite here) individuals pretending to be lawyers immediately started with random insults and throwing up non sequitors, then tried to turn the burden of proof around onto me by demanding that I search through all 50 State Constitutions for the single exception that would prove me right. (They are actually now asserting that all 50 State Constitutions assert that education is a “right”, and demanding that I go forth to prove them wrong.)

    Bullshit, to put it plainly. I’m the one who asked for proof.

    If they didn’t have it, then they should have minded their own business. If they did (or do), then they should put it out there.

    Otherwise, they were just tossing insults to no purpose, and I responded in kind, and properly so.

    As to donk’s family, who gives a shit who they are, what they do, or any of it? Do they have the proof he has so far utterly failed to provide to back up the assertion being made? Does the fact that I am descended from a long line of Irish royalty have anything to do with the claim that was made? Of course not, and he probably knew that when he started blathering about them, being the super-lawyer he claims to be. (Again, with no evidence whatsoever, but I seldom believe anything a lawyer says unless I know it to be true from other sources.)

    Now, I will be just as polite as NumbsKull tried to be (and failed).

    Ahem. The claim being asserted by MunDane (and, by active participation, you and Catvomit) is that “a free and appropriate public education is a right of all residents of the United States”.

    I will ask again. Show me where the Constitution says this.

    Please.

    (And since Hurlboy missed this the first time, we are speaking about all residents – not just the legal residents – of the entire United States. So the words “the Constitution” would be in response to the nationwide umbrella, therefore, the US Constitution.)

    Since I have actually read the Constitution, I will save you the time and trouble of looking frantically through those dusty first-year law school textbooks you never bothered to open, and point out that it doesn’t. There is also nothing about a Federal Department of Education, but that’s another argument for another day.

    Next, I will move onto the point about “all residents” as opposed to “legal residents”. There is no legal requirement I am aware of that we spend tax dollars educating anyone who is here in direct violation of our laws, other than in the School of Hard Knocks (“How to Survive Incarceration 101″, perhaps). You are welcome to come up with the proof to prove me wrong there, too. I won’t hang around.

    Continuing, just because State laws claim something is a “right”, that does not make it so, because there are some things that will defy any attempt at regulation simply because the real world will not bend to comply. California could (and probably will, once they get around to it) declare that beach front property is a “right” of all residents of the State. But the physical reality is that there simply is not enough to go around, and rationing must take place somehow, which means that there will be someone whose “right” will not be fulfilled.

    Finally, when you want to start being polite to me, I will be happy to respond in kind. But starting with insults and degenerating into your standard bullshit is just going to get me ever more interested in slapping you around like a rented mule. But come up with facts, and see whether I am grown up enough to admit that I am wrong.

    I am happy to do so when facts actually prove me wrong, but you have not done anything to bring that about yet. I doubt you ever will, given what I’ve seen of you.

    But for whatever reason, Upchuck, Scott and you decided to start out with insults the moment I arrived. It has not mattered what the issue is, or the relative positions taken, you three have nothing to offer me but insults, so you’ll understand when I respond in kind. Act like an adult, and I will gladly treat you like one. Act like you have been doing, and I will haul out every factual, typographical and logical error you make (which are frequent, I note) and trumpet them to the skies, just to embarrass you.

    Clear enough?

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  91. I don’t have the burden of proof. I’m the one that was asking for the proof to be provided.

    Yes, you do. My school district has the duty to provide an education to special needs children, even before kindergarten, but we have to duty to educate a retard like you. Finish high school or get your GED, finish college, finish law school, get 25 years experience practicing law, and then come back talking about burdens of proof, retard.

    NK, respectfully, the above pretty strongly suggests you are saying that the original commenter shouldn’t discuss the meaning of ‘burden of proof’ without going to law school and practicing for a while first.

    I think that’s problematic, at best.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  92. First, this isn’t a court of law

    Of course! That’s precisely the point I’ve been trying to make to nk. :)

    As I said, someone asserted something I do not believe is true (after all, some people assert free health care is a “right”, but that does not make it true), and I asked for evidence.

    They asserted something which, I submit, most people believe to be true. :) Certainly I believe it to be true, without having done the research to prove it; I know that it’s true in California, at least. (Yes, you can make the argument that a law which requires the government to do something does not create a right on the part of the public to receive it; I think that’s a misleading argument in this case).

    It’s certainly true that every state provides public education, that most people believe it to be a right, and that a state which arbitrarily denied education to people would suffer political retribution. Does that give rise to a legally enforceable right? Clearly not, but it does give rise to, at the very least, a political consensus. And that may be sufficient for courts to recognize the existence of a right; certainly California’s constitution does not explicitly grant a right to marry, but the state supreme court has nonetheless said that there is such a right.

    Certainly federal courts have held that if a state provides public education at all, “public education expenditures for the children of undocumented aliens are required by the equal protection clause”. (State of Tex. v U.S. 106 F.3d 661, 666). That doesn’t answer the question of whether a state may refuse to provide public education at all, of course; but surely it’s worth something to note that no state does deny public education.

    In any event, there’s an assertion which is held to be self-evidently true by those who are making it and held to be self-evidently false by you. ISTM that given that there are multiple ways to prove it false and only one way to prove it true, it is easier to prove it false; and so if you wish to convince them, it’s more efficient for you to find the case which proves it false than it is for them to run down proof of the assertion. If, on the other hand, you’re content to simply say they’re wrong and not convince anyone, then insisting that they prove it is effective. :)

    Since I have actually read the Constitution, I will save you the time and trouble of looking frantically through those dusty first-year law school textbooks you never bothered to open, and point out that it doesn’t.

    (a) certainly the Constitution doesn’t say anything about education. Neither does it say anything about abortion, or the right to have an attorney to represent you at trial. The Constitution is not the only source of rights. See, eg, Amendment IX.
    (b) “dusty first-year law school textbooks you never bothered to open” is a nice turn of phrase, but it’s particularly, amusingly inapposite when it’s turned on me.

    There is no legal requirement I am aware of that we spend tax dollars educating anyone who is here in direct violation of our laws, other than in the School of Hard Knocks (”How to Survive Incarceration 101″, perhaps). You are welcome to come up with the proof to prove me wrong there, too. I won’t hang around.

    The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has said that there is such a requirement. This is controversial, to be sure, but it has not been overturned and so is binding law in at least part of the country.

    just because State laws claim something is a “right”, that does not make it so

    Aha! An interesting point. What does make something a right? You seem to have expressed both a belief that enumeration in the US Constitution makes something a right, and a belief that enumeration in a state Constitution does not; this seems inconsistent to me. But, then again, I think the basis for ‘rights’ is inconsistent in the minds of everyone except the natural rights crowd and the rights-are-entirely-creations-of-the-state crowd.

    But starting with insults and degenerating into your standard bullshit is just going to get me ever more interested in slapping you around like a rented mule.

    I was not aware that I’d insulted you. Most of my posts in this thread have been to object to something nk said; I believe that all i’ve said to you is the single post which you quoted at the start of #91. I fail to see how that was insulting.

    But for whatever reason, Upchuck, Scott and you decided to start out with insults the moment I arrived

    Please point me to a comment where I have insulted you or withdraw the claim. I find the allegation that I ‘decided to start out with insults the moment you arrived’ to be inaccurate and insulting; it’s extremely rare for me to insult someone online, and I’m not aware of ever having done so at this site.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  93. but it’s particularly, amusingly inapposite when it’s turned on me.

    When I used that phrase, I was not addressing you. I regret that anything insulting I might have said would ever have applied to you, since you have been unfailingly polite to me and others.

    What does make something a right?

    Those things which are inalienable and granted by Divine Providence (or whichever phrase they were using in that sentence). Governments exist to protect our rights (which would exist even if the government was not involved), not give them to us at the expense of the whole community.

    I have a right to free speech, but I don’t expect the government to collect taxes to give me a forum to exercise that right.

    I was not aware that I’d insulted you.

    You never have. Again, I was not addressing you, either generally or specifically, when I wrote this. I regret any bad feelings it may have caused you to think otherwise.

    Please point me to a comment where I have insulted you or withdraw the claim.

    As above, I was not addressing you when I wrote this.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  94. When I used that phrase, I was not addressing you. I regret that anything insulting I might have said would ever have applied to you, since you have been unfailingly polite to me and others.

    Fair enough. I had assumed that, since you started with a quote from something I had said, the entire post was a response directed at me. I apologize for jumping to that conclusion, and thank you for your prompt reaction and apology. :)

    Those things which are inalienable and granted by Divine Providence (or whichever phrase they were using in that sentence).

    That seems to put you squarely in the natural rights camp. I would argue that there are two different overlapping sets of rights: fundamental rights and those rights which are recognized by a given society; the same word is used for both.

    Thus, I think it’s fair to claim that our society broadly recognizes a right to education; I think that’s implied in the political consensus and the strength of the support for taxes dedicated to school funding, as well as the lengths to which we will go to ensure that, say, severely disabled children still get a decent education.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  95. Yes, you do. My school district has the duty to provide an education to special needs children, even before kindergarten, but we have [n]o duty to educate a retard like you. Finish high school or get your GED, finish college, finish law school, get 25 years experience practicing law, and then come back talking about burdens of proof, retard.

    I said that, for a fact.

    I later explained:

    The law is a profession with a certain baseline of competence and legal knowledge. And legal reasoning. We no more need to put every layman who wants to make up stuff about the law through law school any more than we need to try to convince the homeless panhandler on the corner that the Kaiser is not really out to steal his string.

    You insist:

    NK, respectfully, the above pretty strongly suggests you are saying that the original commenter shouldn’t discuss the meaning of ‘burden of proof’ without going to law school and practicing for a while first.

    I think that’s problematic, at best.

    Fair enough. Less charitably, some people know what they’re talking about and some people don’t say whatever nonsense they make up in their heads.

    nk (d1fed7)

  96. our society broadly recognizes a right to education

    That should be more accurately phrased “our society is willing to collectively sacrifice to provide a chance for an education”. I would agree with that phrasing.

    The reason I can say that it is not a right is that there are limits placed on it that have nothing to do with any malfeasance on the part of those who can no longer exercise that right. I’ve already gone through the curricula available within the California School System (having learned through what is defined as “college level” by the age of ten, according to State tests). Does that mean my “right to a free education” is no longer valid? How many other “rights” are a one-time event? How many require taxes to be paid (by those who can no longer exercise that right) in order to finance?

    Governments are prohibited from encroaching on our rights by the Constitution(s), not granted confiscatory powers to give rights to some members of society, the exercise of which is financed by the rest.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  97. NK, I think you’re still missing my point.

    “Burden of proof” in a court of law is a term of art which can only be meaningfully defined by people with proper training.

    “Burden of proof” for providing evidence to support an assertion made in a discussion outside of a court of law is a colloquial term whose meaning is not necessarily the same as the meaning of the first “burden of proof”.

    As far as I can tell, the discussion of ‘burden of proof’ here is about who has the evidentiary burden to back up an assertion in a discussion taking place here. For such a discussion, the colloquial definition is appropriate, not the legal one.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  98. Governments are prohibited from encroaching on our rights by the Constitution(s), not granted confiscatory powers to give rights to some members of society, the exercise of which is financed by the rest.

    Prove it.

    nk (d1fed7)

  99. Prove it.

    I just did, by your standards. Prove me wrong.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  100. Aphrael, you are missing my point. Timewaster makes assertions about the law. Which he does not have the competence to do. In fact, he makes up the law as it suits him. Let’s just let the Kaiser steal the string he inherited from his Irish royalty ancestors.

    nk (d1fed7)

  101. This thread ceased to be amusing awhile ago by even my admittedly degenerate standards.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  102. Timewaster makes assertions about the law

    You’re not only a liar, you are unable to read simple English.

    For the THIRD time, I am not the one who made the assertion regarding the law (and nonexistent “rights”). I am the one asking for the evidence of that inaccurate assertion. I am NOT the one with the burden to prove a negative.

    Yet it is you so-called lawyers who keep asserting that it is my responsibility to prove him wrong, then telling me that I don’t even have the right to argue without having been to 25 years of law school.

    I have made no assertions about anything, except as regards who has the responsibility and requirement to prove an assertion advanced sans proof, and I wasn’t even the one who started throwing insults around.

    So I will ask for the fourth time for anyone to actually prove the assertion. If they can. Please.

    If all you have are more insults, I will preemptively invite you, each and severally, to go fuck yourselves.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  103. Naah, I think I’ll find a thread that talks about why the income tax is unconstitutional.

    nk (d1fed7)

  104. And I thought AGW was controversial!

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  105. Naah, I think I’ll find a thread that talks about why the income tax is unconstitutional.

    Be sure to read the Sixteenth Amendment* before lipping off about shit you don’t understand.

    * – that would be The Sixteenth Amendment To The Constitution Of The United States, for those like Catvomit who don’t understand English.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  106. For the THIRD time, I am not the one who made the assertion regarding the law (and nonexistent “rights”). I am the one asking for the evidence of that inaccurate assertion.

    Listen, dumbass, if you weren’t making an “assertion” yourself, you wouldn’t have used a loaded word like “inaccurate” to describe his. It’s not as though he said education was a right, and you responded by saying “Gee, I have no clue if it’s a right or not, care to explain why you think it is?” That would have been fine. Instead, you came in with all guns blazing, demanding he tell you what part of the U.S. Constitution established that right – as if the U.S. Constitution were the only source of rights. That’s two assertions of yours you’ve treated as fact, while providing no evidence whatsoever to support either.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’ve already researched the laws of one state for free. If you’d like to pay me $200/hour (a bargain rate, given that that’s what I cost when I left private practice six years ago) to research the other 49, I’ll be glad to do it. Otherwise, it’s up to you to identify ONE state in which you think a free K-12 education is not a right. Once you’ve identified the state, I either provide the laws to prove that it is, and you self-ban from the entire blogosophere for 10 days, or I admit I can’t prove it a right, and I self-ban for the same time period instead. You ignored the challenge before, because you know damned well that you’d lose. I fully expect you to conveniently ignore it again now, for the same reason.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  107. Hrulk.

    Gfkyrslf.

    Geddit?

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  108. Timewaster. Petrano, Esq., II.

    nk (d1fed7)


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