Let’s talk about ‘due process.’
Now I’m no legal genius, but as I understand it, both the constitution and our common law protect the little ou by requiring that, if you want to pronounce someone guilty of something, and punish him for it, you have to follow ‘due process.’
But it seems that ‘the little ou’ doesn’t include schoolchildren. Because, you see, it seems that teachers are allowed to make summary judgments – snap! just like that.
Coupla weeks ago, my ward’s cell phone was ‘confiscated,’ and it was held for ten days.
He’d been using it in class, and the School Code of Conduct (as if that were some kind of legal document, binding on all parties, and all that), says that the teacher can do that.
And I agree: no one should use a cell phone in class. But what sets our education system above the law of the land? Hell, if someone as powerful as the Tax Man wants to go after my assets, he has to follow due process.
See, I pay for that phone – so it’s mine - and I do so in order to be able to contact the brat when I want or need to do so.
So I spoke to a lawyer about it, and he said I had a case, and that I should go to court to get an order to have the phone returned forthwith. But I thought, screw it, it’d be cheaper to get one of those throw-away Pep specials, and that way keep the communication lines open for the ten days in question.
Sure enough, the school kept its word and after the punishment period, returned my phone.
But it failed in its duty to set an example, because it didn’t teach the boy a lesson in citizenship, responsibility and constitutionality.
Was there a hearing? Was the boy given a chance to defend himself? Was the accuser given a chance to put her case to an independent arbiter?
No. None of that.
And THAT’S why I have a problem…