The Right Amount of Attention to Our Rights

Staff Ed

Alexis Megdanoff, Writer

During SRT on Constitution Day, the article read by all students provided them with the opportunity to consider their legal rights in school. The incident documented in the article was about a student in Kentucky who was questioned at school in the assistant principal’s office. The student admitted to giving his friend medication he brought to school and was sentenced to 45 days in jail as well as being punished by the school.

During the time the student was questioned, he was not read his Miranda Rights. When this case reached the state Supreme Court, it ruled in favor of the student because he was “in custody” while he was being questioned at school. Because he wasn’t read his rights, his statements were suppressed.

The Fenton Student Handbook states, “The Board of Education recognizes the importance of safeguarding a student’s constitutional rights, particularly when subject to the District’s disciplinary procedures.”

While students are bound to abide by the Student Handbook, it is essential they are able to experience their full legal rights when they’re inside and outside of school. Out in the real world, students have all of their rights. Out in the real world, the Constitution is the law, not the Student Handbook.

If the school would focus on helping students understand their full rights, they would better understand their boundaries when they graduate. Students would know what their rights mean and what happens if they cross them.

For instance, when students turn 18, they receive the full legal rights of an adult, but must follow all student rules while in school. Learning the different policies and consequences of an adult would help students better understand their responsibilities as American citizens.

There needs to be a meeting point between the Student Handbook and the Constitution so school can remain a safe, peaceful environment while still allowing students are exercise their constitutional rights while in school.

The constitutional rights guaranteed to all Americans are what sets this country apart from others. It is our responsibility as students to be aware of our legal freedoms and know when and how they apply.

The school should focus on teaching students what their rights are as American citizens, instead of restricting them. Then, one day we can say, “I know and understand my rights” and leave the school feeling confident as equals.