You know, we never thought we’d get a story from Seventeen magazine. After all, a magazine that targets teen girls is the last place you expect political commentary to begin. However, we live in a screwed up world. Rather than just have make-up secrets or an interview with Justin Beiber, the magazine has a report on a Massachusetts head cheerleader who has been banned from competition because of, at least in part, a tweet she put out as part of a homework assignment.
Caley Godino, a senior at Revere High School in Revere, Massachusetts, was asked to watch the political debates leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Her teacher tweeted a comment about the low voter turnout for November’s mayoral race, which prompted Caley to post a controversial tweet.
“When only 10 percent of Revere votes for mayor cause the other 90 percent isn’t legal,” she reportedly tweeted. (Her profile is private.)
As of 2010, 27 percent of Revere’s population was born outside the United States. Caley says she intended the comment to express her political views, not her views on race, according to MyFoxBoston.com. Her political views were inspired by Donald Trump. But after several students complained, school officials stepped in.
“If you’re going to stand up and say something that other people will find offensive, then you need to be prepare to deal with the ramifications of that,” Superintendent Dianne Kelley told MyFoxBoston.com.
Now, we’re fine with people dealing with the ramifications of their actions. Rights come with responsibilities, and part of that is dealing with the aftermath of what you do.
However, schools aren’t the people to enforce the ramifications of one exercising their rights.
The school claims that the tweet isn’t the only reason Godino is now banned from competition. However, by saying it’s not the only reason, they are admitting that it was part of the reason. Folks, this is a problem.
We get that while in school, students have limited rights. Their lockers aren’t their property, so the school can open them up at will. They can force a student to open up their book bags whenever they want, and there’s nothing students can do about it either. School rules also prevent students from saying whatever they want in class.
We get that.
However, Godino wasn’t in class. It was a tweet from her personal Twitter account, sent after school, voicing her own opinion. That’s free speech, and the school is using that, at least in part, to punish her for voicing an unpopular opinion.
Please, tell us how that’s right?
We send our children to school so they can learn. Schools have an obligation to at least try and teach our students how the world works, at least on some level. That’s not what’s happening and hasn’t for a very long time. Caley Godino has a right to her opinion, even if it sucks. If she doesn’t, then who is next?
Whose unpopular opinion comes under fire next and gets proverbially lynched for having the wrong thoughts? Where would this country be without people being free to say unpopular things? The abolition of slavery, civil rights, women’s suffrage, and a whole host of other issues were once unpopular, but because of free speech, they had a right to be heard. They spoke, and they convinced people they were right. We’re a better nation because of all of that.
We’re not saying Godino’s opinion is right. What we’re saying is that she has a right to voice it, and no government entity has a right to tell her she can’t.
Photo Credit: Caley Godino/facebook