Illinois Teacher Disciplined For Telling Students Of Their Fifth Amendment Rights Before Survey On Drug Use

logo280px-BataviahsJohn Dryden, is a social studies teacher at Batavia High School in Illinois. It may have been his social science background or his concern for basic rights of students, but Dryden felt that he should mention that students have constitutional rights not to incriminate themselves in a school-mandated survey. The survey, after all, was asking the student if they had used drugs, tobacco, and alcohol. In response, the school disciplined Dryden and docked his pay.

J_BarshingerDryden told his student about the Fifth Amendment rights but did not discourage them from filing out the survey. Batavia School Superintendent Jack Barshinger (right) would have none of it. While he said students have rights, “[t]he Fifth Amendment – you don’t typically hear about in a school setting. That’s because the law has already been set that don’t allow students to self incriminate.” I was not aware that “the law has already been set that don’t allow students to self incriminate.” Recently, in J.D.B. v. North Carolina, No. 09-11121 (2011), the Supreme Court held that age is relevant when determining police custody for Miranda purposes. Previously, in Yarborough v. Alvarado the Court wrote that a child’s age “generates commonsense conclusions about behavior and perception.” It is certainly true that the Supreme Court has reduced protections (often erroneously in my view) in the school settings, but Barshinger appears to have a more sweeping notion of school power. Regardless, in this case, a teacher was just informing students of their rights so that they could make such decisions.

I expect that the survey would not be used for reporting students to police. However, schools are increasingly cooperating with police to use their setting to interrogate students without informing their parents.

I can understand the point that the students could opt out but Dryden was giving them information relevant to that decision. For a social science teacher, it was also a teachable moment on civil liberties. At a meeting, nearly 100 students, former students and colleagues turned out to support Dryden.

What do you think?

Source: Salon

50 thoughts on “Illinois Teacher Disciplined For Telling Students Of Their Fifth Amendment Rights Before Survey On Drug Use”

  1. John Dryden, the social studies teacher at Batavia High School, should not only have been disciplined and had his pay docked for talking about student’s rights, but he should have been fired and blackballed for life. He should have also been Taser-gunned as a potential threat to the government.

    As we move more and more to a Leftist controlled society in America, we must indoctrinate our children into the Leftist way of thinking. That is, they must understand that the State is all-powerful and obedience to authority must be followed under all circumstances, or there will be terrible consequences. They must learn that they have no rights, except certain government-sanctioned privileges that may be revoked at any time, as government controlled mandates may determine from time to time.

    The people of the USA are fully ready for the institution of the total-Leftist state. They have proven that by reelecting President Obama. Every Obama voter has by his or her very action announced, in effect, the following:

    “I am ready for the Leftist state. I want all my rights and freedom taken away from me. I want the State to make all decisions for me and to control every facet of my life to extent possible and feasible. I will remain passive and will fully obey the mandates of the all-powerful State.”

    Looked at from this perspective, the school administration did the right thing in punishing Dryden. Of course, the foolish and hypocritical Leftists will be criticizing the decision, even as they secretly applaud it. Such Leftist-Schizophrenia is a normal part of the process. It’s all part of the incremental approach, leading to the complete Leftist State with the obliteration of all rights. Nazi, Communist, and the Muslim governments (the most prevalent forms of Leftist governments) have all thoroughly understood this principle of incrementalism. You asked for it. You voted for it. You got it. Enjoy it. Thanks, Leftists.

    But I will remember Civilization with fond memories. It was good while it lasted.

  2. Well Bron, I’m way more radical than any progressive and if I owned education, it would be kids being PROVIDED WITH REAL DATA and coached in how to deal with real data, to the absolute maximum extent of their intellectual power to do so. Therefore, I don’t get what you mean.

    When I went to public school, long ago, I was smart enough to understand what really COULD have been taught. I got dumbed down by my education. I have never recovered. I remember the day it dawned on me what had happened; I was reading a book and I was on the sofa in my son’s house and when I realized what had happened (I don’t even know how and can’t remember which book I was reading when it struck me) I yelled, “WTF?!” [in the original unexpurgated version] and my grandwhippet got so alarmed he jumped up and barked at me. It is a moment that will always be with me and even now I’m laughing about his expression all over again.

  3. Gene,

    Of course it is design flaw. As Spooner aptly summarized:

    But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.

    And that was in 1867….

    Boy would it be fun to roll him out of the grave for him to see the form of government that it has either authorized or failed to prevent ever since.

  4. rsmatesic,

    Apparently you don’t know what the word rhetoric means either.

  5. Gene H.:

    You say I have a “complete lack of understanding”, but as I read your reply, I see no effort on your part to address the concept of “rights” as rhetoric. You insist on placing Carlin into a box that he rejects, because he understands the folks in that box are guided by bad faith: they lead people to believe that rights are absolute, when they are anything but.

  6. rsmatesic,

    Your answer shows a complete lack of understanding of how the social compact model of government works. Absolute rights only exist in the state of nature (i.e. anarchy). The limitation of rights for mutual benefit is the essence of that model. Like I said, Carlin wasn’t a lawyer although he was using terms of Art. The closest thing to absolute rights in law is the pursuit of defining the nature and scope of “universal human rights”.

  7. Gene H.’s analysis implies the measure of a right is whether a person is entitled to some kind of remedy (e.g., compensation) when the right is violated or otherwise taken away. In contrast, Carlin says it isn’t a right if it can be violated or taken away.

    I’m with Carlin. He understands that the term “right” chiefly exists as a rhetorical device, and that the correct inquiry is binary: one either has absolute freedom to do X, or something less than absolute freedom. He also understood that we hold some fairly confused notions about our standing vis a vis the government and other powerful elements in our society, and that we like to think that a “right” is something we are absolutely free to exercise. But one is not free to exercise a right if one must also suffer retribution for its exercise.

    Which then begs the question: who benefits from the false rhetoric? the government? the corporations? the wealthy? the people?

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