There is an interesting free speech controversy in Florida where Vero Beach High School junior J.P. Krause won the election for class president only to be told that he would be retroactively disqualified. The reason was his tongue-in-cheek campaign speech using Trump slogans. Vero High Principal Shawn O’Keefe accused Krause of harassing an opponent with his speech invoking President Trump’s proposed border wall. The Superintendent had to reverse O’Keefe’s decision after a public outcry.
Here is the speech:
Klause accused the other candidate of representing a rival school and proposed that “we build a wall” between the two schools and have the other school pay for it. He also accused the rival of representing “Communist ideas.”
O’Keefe saw no humor in the Trump references: “The insulting language in this speech was of a nature that created a situation of public humiliation and therefore violated school district rules pertaining to harassment.”
I do not see how this speech is seriously a matter of harassment. Apparently neither did the Supervisor who announced:
“After careful review of all the circumstances surrounding the Vero Beach High School Student Government Association Senior Class President election, I have decided to overturn the principal’s decisions regarding disqualifying candidates from the election, and will accept the original election results.”
We have been discussing the alarming rise of speech limitations and sanctions imposed by school officials. We have seen a steady erosion of the free speech rights of students in the last decade. The Supreme Court accelerated that trend in its Morse decision. Former JDHS Principal Deb Morse suspended a student in 2002 during the Olympic Torch Relay for holding up a 14-foot banner across from the high school that read “Bong Hits 4 Jesus.” The case ultimately led to the Supreme Court which ruled in Morse v. Frederick ruling in 2007 for the Board — a decision that I strongly disagreed with and one that has encouraged over-reaching by school officials into protected areas. Even cheerleaders are expected to conform their free speech to accept positions or risk removal from their teams. Even liking images on social media to get students suspended.
Even assuming that the student seriously supported Trump in these statements, it should not be a matter of disqualification to quote the President. Likewise, the interpretation of such references as harassment or humiliation is a bit forced.
What do you think?
48 thoughts on “Student Disqualified As Class President After Campaign Speech With Trump References”
This was worth blogging about?
You could start your own blog, then you could pick the topics.
I don’t recall you objecting to his post complaining that vendors use different photo illustrations when selling to the Saudi market than they do when selling to the American market.
I just asked a simple yes or no question.
“What do we think?” I think Turley should be a minority Jew in a 95% evangelical school that has a candidate for school office, who wears a swastika, while brandishing a branding iron with numbers to tattoo wrists. Then, Turley could tell us how he feels. Or, Turley’s child could be a Black kid in a majority White school which has a school office candidate parading in a white hood, carrying a rope noose. Then, Turley can report back to us how he feels.
I think if you were capable of it, it might occur to you that da feelz is a poor guide for formulating political principles.
Yes, we did notice that the only feelings that interest you are those of certain preferred mascot groups. (And that you entertain fantasies about Nazis in evangelical milieux). You’re a lousy piece of work, and aren’t in a position to be instructing anyone about anything in the moral realm.
A lack of compassion is a poor guide for formulating political principles. One million Irish were allowed to die of starvation due to British reverence for the “principle” of unfettered free markets
Further harassment against students who are not ultra Liberal. This even applies to Liberal students who do not show appropriate hatred for conservatives.
The speech was intended to be humorous, and anyone who had sufficient critical thinking skills would understand that. Apparently, the principal in charge of educating those students lacked that criteria.
Schools that engage in the harassment of students over politics should be prosecuted for violating their civil rights as well as sued. Heck, if lawsuits can create warning labels such as “ladders can fall over”, then they can force academia to respect civil rights of students.
Having critical thinking skills is generally an impediment to career advancement among school administrators. Being a conduit for a river of pedagogic and disciplinary fads is of what the job generally consists.
I identify the problem with incivility as a lack of the use of moderators and referees when political dialog is becoming corrosive and unconstructive. Young people are coming up with a very distorted idea about self-expression….it’s all freedom and no responsibility. That’s a consequence of social media and polemic news reporting, where it’s become fashionable to reject the possibility of objectivity, and instead pepper any discussion of current events with unconstrained editorializing, framing, repurposing to convey opinion and feelings. In a more civics-savvy population, political discourse would not be predicated on conveying unvarnished feelings and opinions, but upon making actionable proposals that take into account both self-interest and others’ interests toward the goal of negotiating an agreement. And the media would shun unconstructive “conflict theatrics”, and give its precious air time to the responsible voices of negotitation.
I identify the problem with incivility as a lack of the use of moderators and referees when political dialog is becoming corrosive and unconstructive.
Ha ha ha. Find an honest broker. As we speak in our culture, the use of ‘moderators’ and ‘referees’ leads not to civility but civility bull***t.
Nat Hentoff is dead.
Exactly why I am against college for most students. Tax payers should not have to pay for colleges to brain wash students or any reason. If you can not afford to go to college (pay yourself) then take up a trade, you will be better off. Foreign students that attend our colleges should pay their own way.
Student government is a pointless waste of time and school administration is commonly a collecting pool of bureaucratic buffoons.
You can dramatically reduce the quantum of ‘free speech’ controversies by turning state schools over to incorporated philanthropies run by trustees elected by stakeholders. Primary and secondary schooling is a fee-for-service enterprise which emerges naturally on the open market. Concerns about the distribution of services can be addressed by sorting schools into two categories: those permitted to charge tuition (but which receive no remittances from any public authority) and those who do not charge tuition but are financed by the redemption of vouchers issued by county governments. Those wishing to home-school or send their children to tuition charging schools could cash out their vouchers for a portion of the face value thereof (a portion calculated by a formula which includes their local property tax payments and the number of vouchers issued them as arguments).
I’ll take it one further, DSS. Student run disciplinary systems at any level are likewise fools’ errands. It teaches nothing, turns life-altering decisions over to rank amateurs with no life experience and even less judgment, and is routinely ignored by the faculty once the heat is on from the parents. Kids should learn first, get some experience in life next and then seek to govern and adjudicate.
This is part of Zero Tolerance.
Fascinating. I live near Vero Beach and read this story in the local paper. Interestingly, they made absolutely no mention of the Trump references in the kid’s speech. Thank you for providing that context. I honestly couldn’t figure out what the controversy was based on the local story, but I have a completely different understanding of what happened now.
There’s your free press for you. All the news they want you to hear.
The kid was funny.
Vero Beach huh? I have a friend living on a boat with wife and kids and they were headed that way and intend for the kids to go to school there. I am going to warn them.
and the turtles too!
Freedom of thought and speech in real trouble in this culture.
The kid should hire attorneys and clog the courts with incessant lawsuits while not paying taxes.
I seriously doubt this high school student makes enough money to pay taxes, Dave.
FFS – the student probably pays sales tax and may pay the taxes on his vehicle.
Paul, Dave was trying to post a ,very clever comment that would insult President Trump. Dave should probably find some other way to amuse himself.
Also, Florida does not charge taxes on vehicles other than sales tax on the purchase.
FFS – so in Florida your license plates are free?
No, but there is no property taxes assessed against the vehicle as there is in other states. You just pay a renewal fee.
FFS – and regardless of the value or age of the vehicle, everyone pays the same amount every year?
FFS – a simple yes or no would have been sufficient. 🙂
Paul, Dave was trying to post a very clever comment that would insult President Trump. Dave should probably find some other way to amuse himself.
A pox on this school official for such overreach.
As I have said before, I have no use for school government and believe it is simply a waste of time. That said if it is to be fostered it must be legitimate and respected by the faculty. The fact that this official sacked the duly elected class president only serves to prove my point.
Well, one lesson offered by this ridiculous affair is that it is training students how the DNC operates its primaries.
Confused, per usual.
No, he writes with clarity. You’re confused because you’re getting senile.
Speak for yourself.
Susan is not the one who claimed to be confused.
The principal acts as a single member Iran style Guardian Council.
Forgot to suscribe.
During speech class in the early 70’s I read one of General Patton’s speeches.
I can see now if I had read it in 2017, I would have been drawn and quartered.
You are lame. I got in trouble for trying to do a book report on Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus in 10th grade. I had it all figured out how I could tie in cuneiform writing, and the Delta Queen riverboat, and even Delta Airlines, to be a heck of a piece of critical analysis. Maybe it was the outline part about lesbianism in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority that got it tossed???
Anyway, I got grounded for like a month, IIRC.
I am surprised they knew who Nin was. I didn’t read her until college. That is a startling analysis, would love to see the paper, if you still have it.
I didn’t actually do the paper. We had to turn in our choice for a book report, with a brief explanation of what we intended to study about the book. Which, being busy with other stuff, I didn’t do. Sooo, at the last minute I cobbled that together knowing that it probably wouldn’t fly and that I would get extra time to pick my book. Well, it worked! I got extra time. But, I also got grounded for a month. I forget which book I ended up doing.
Squeeky – it is still a great idea for a paper. 🙂
Squeeky just Makes Stuff Up.
That confuses you, doesn’t it?
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