Arresting Immigrants, Erasing God, More Mascot Madness

A California high school student who opined in his student paper that illegal immigrants should be arrested was reprimanded by his school and taunted by his classmates as a result, according to a lawsuit filed by the student.

Andrew Smith, opinion editor of the Novato High School Buzz, wrote that if immigrants can't go through the hassle of becoming a citizen, they should "stay out of our country," reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

"They should treat these people the way cops would treat a suspected criminal," Smith wrote. "If a person looks suspicious then just stop them and ask a few questions, and if they answer, 'Que?' detain them."

Some 150 students and parents marched on the school after the article was published, complaining that it was insensitive. In reaction, the school confiscated remaining issues of the paper and sent a letter to parents saying the article "negatively presented immigrants in general and Hispanics in particular" and should never have been printed.

Smith is suing the district for usurping his free speech rights.

"They took what could have been a lesson about our cherished right to protected speech and turned it into a lesson for Andrew about the tyranny of the majority," said Cynthia Cook, a lawyer for the Pacific Legal Foundation, which is representing Smith. "It was mob rule. They stifled Andrew's voice because he had an unpopular viewpoint."

Erasing God

A 12-year-old Illinois girl whose design was selected in a contest for her school yearbook cover was forced to erase the words "God Bless America" from the design and replace them with "Proud to be America" because the religious reference was considered inappropriate, reports the Quad-City Times.

Allowing "God Bless America" on the cover of a public school yearbook would be "tantamount to the state sponsorship of religion, which is forbidden," according to the school's attorney.

The student, Marissa De La Rosa, is now suing the Rock Island-Milan School District, seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the school from printing the yearbook as changed.

"I want the school to publish my original design with 'God Bless America' in it instead," Marissa, who attends sixth grade, said in a statement filed with the lawsuit. "I do not think it was right for the school to make me change my design."

Once and for All

Native American groups in California are pushing legislation which would make California the first state in the country to banish all Indian team mascots from public schools, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The measure would ban team names such as the Redskins, Apaches and Comanches, names that some say are culturally insensitive. A pair of education commissions would act as arbiters of mascot taste if the measure passes.

Analysts say the measure could eventually lead to the demise of all mascots deemed derogatory to any racial or ethnic group, such as the Imperial Valley College Arabs or the Hollywood High Sheiks.

The Times reports that the activists have encountered virtually no resistance to their proposal.

One Man's Abuse …

In a new report, the Council on American-Islamic Relations says incidents of intolerance and abuse against Arab-Americans rose dramatically last year, including hundreds of incidents of verbal abuse and unfair practices in workplaces and schools.

Reports of verbal abuse cited by CAIR include a Chester, Pa., Muslim who found Christian religious pamphlets in his home following a visit from a telephone company technician, and a Norwood, Mass., Muslim who reported seeing small posters with the words "No Arabs, No Terror" at a stoplight in downtown New York.

A Brooklyn, N.Y., high school student also reported being harassed because her teacher said Muslims, especially Palestinians, teach their children to be terrorists, and a student at Cal State Dominguez in Carson, Calif., said her professor made a rude comment about Muslims and Afghanistan when he exclaimed that, "Afghanistan should be burned down!"

As an example of unfair treatment, CAIR said a Farmville, Va., woman "went to pick up her car (at a Pep Boys repair shop) and noticed that one of her Islamic items was missing. She complained but the mechanics had an attitude and said they didn't know. Five days later her transmission locked up because it had insufficient fluid in it. She suspects that there could be a connection between the bias she encountered and her car's damage."

The report also says CAIR received numerous hate e-mails during the months of October and November, 2001, among them messages beseeching Muslims to "get out," e-mail bashing the Prophet Muhammad and several e-mails calling Islam a "religion of evil."

Howard Stern Would Be Proud

Female students at the University of Connecticut are complaining that a raunchy show on the student-run cable system is degrading to women and contributes to a misogynistic atmosphere on campus, reports The Associated Press.

The show features two student hosts bantering with callers and cast members and putting on skits — many of them sexually graphic and of dubious social merit.

Senior Cheryl Eureka calls the show offensive and is one of several women who say they plan to bring a sexual harassment complaint against the show.

"It makes me feel like I live in a really hostile climate," said another female student, who asked that her name not be used. "I don't believe in censorship. I just want them to take it off for now."

Off Their Rockets?

A group of residents in Pandora, Ohio, are upset about plans to hang a deactivated, 26-foot missile in the lobby of a local school whose team mascot is a rocket, reports Toledo's The Blade.

"It seems to be very contradictory with all of our efforts to teach our kids in our schools in this post-Columbine era to resolve conflict constructively and then we hang in our lobby this symbol of mankind's inability to resolve conflict constructively," said the Rev. John Dey, pastor of Grace Mennonite Church.

"We tell our kids not to bring weapons to school and then we hang a retired weapon in our school. It's very inconsistent," Dey said. He suggested the missile would be more appropriate outside.

Still others defended the plan, saying the missile should be thought of as symbolizing the fight for freedom all citizens enjoy.

From the Central Servers:

Bernadette G. corrects us:

You write in your column that the Cornell College Republicans apologized for "offensive" posters advertising a speech by Bay Buchanan. This is a horrible mistake. The apology came from Ithaca College Republicans down the street from Cornell University. I assure you that the Cornell College Republicans would never have given them the satisfaction.

Glenn W. writes:

Katrina Baker's problem is not with the First Amendment. Rather, she is rejecting the supremacy clause of the Constitution, and ultimately the rule of law itself. That a student at an elite school would be unfamiliar with the Constitution is frightening, but then, one of my colleagues, a woman with a Ph.D. in sociology, demanded to know when Congress passed "that law" limiting the right to declare war to the House of Representatives. Shakespeare had it wrong. First, let's kill all the professors (but let me get my resignation letter typed first).

Rob M.

The Constitution doesn't apply at Cornell? What are they teaching at schools these days? As a 22-year military member, I am absolutely stunned by the things I hear and see these days. If Ms. Baker doesn't think the Constitution applies to Cornell, then she better watch out when the people she doesn't like start locking her up because she disagrees with them. The Constitution is under attack these days, with the so-called Patriot Act and "secret evidence" in trials. Ms. Baker had better hope the Constitution applies to her and to everyone.

Mike W. in Lexington, Ky., writes:

I didn't realize that Cornell University was a sovereign nation within the U.S. borders and was not governed by the Constitution as the rest of us. However, the comment isn't surprising; it appears that most colleges no longer teach nor believe in the Constitution.

Eric A. writes:

Oh, so burning a flag is considered within the realm of freedom of expression, but an editorial cartoon focusing on minorities is not within the realm of freedom of speech?? Whoops — I forgot that all the rules change when it comes to minorities.

Mary W. in Peoria, Ariz., writes:

The article about the 4H Campers taking into consideration how they emulate Native Americans is not "extreme PC-ness." It is simply being thoughtful. I am white, my husband is Hopi; we have two boys, ages 13 and nine. Frankly, I welcome any opportunity for my kids to see American Indians not being portrayed in a degrading way. Have your heritage and cultural traditions ever been subjected to clown-like trivialization? I didn't think so.

Christopher C. in East Lansing, Mich., writes:

I find it very interesting that Fox News is willing to consider "white whining" about Native American "political correctness" as news to report. When white, Republican people are inconvenienced, it makes news, but there is nothing about a 500-plus year history of broken treaties, genocide and its continuing legacy today among Native Americans. I guess that's not "appropriate news" to Fox.

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