Banner-waver could have written an essay or letter

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Monday, March 18, 2002

Over the last several weeks I have read many letters and articles about the teenager who used the obscene sign at the Olympic games. Several letters (and your cartoon in Sunday's Empire) spoke to the issue of "free speech."

If this young man had a real message he felt compelled to proclaim, why not write an essay explaining his strongly felt beliefs about this issue? I'm sure his English teacher would have been happy to critique it. Or better yet, why not write a letter to the editor articulating his strong beliefs and explaining why he felt these very rude words were the most appropriate he could find to explain the "very important" message he needed to convey.

Perhaps I misunderstood the "well-intentioned" message as simply being his way of getting attention (doesn't he get any at home?). Did he feel he had to disrupt and disturb the general public to get the desired effect? To me his actions seemed more like a desire for exhibitionism than a desire to make a public statement.

For my part, even though I am not running down the street with a banner nor disrupting public meetings, I wish to use my option for free speech by saying that I support the school district's decision. When children are in the care of the school district, there are certain expectations they should be required to adhere to. Expectation of good manners (probably an archaic term in this young man's vernacular) is appropriate school-district criteria.

Dot Wilson


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