Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Youth Rights Interlude

Reading BoingBoing, I found this post, about an 8th grader, by all indicators respectable and law-abiding, getting in trouble for buying candy from a student. Going further into that blog's archives, I keep finding more and more absurd stories about rights youth are being denied. Seriously, this goes on and on, and this is only what I've found in five minutes. Bear in mind, the blog I'm pulling these links from is not a blog about youth rights. Its about civil rights, plain and simple. Youth are just denied them, or have restricted, trial versions that do them little good.

It's absurd, and this alone is enough fodder to consider a change in legal attitudes. The bakers dozen of links says more than enough, but a few points worth making. These rights are all civil rights we believe adults should have, and several of these posts focus on state interference against the parent, in a way puts that lets the state supersede parental authority in matters from education to curfew laws. Rather than parents having the state to back up on for curfew laws, parents who set their own curfews find out:
...that it is also unlawful for parents or guardians to knowingly or by inefficient control allow their children to be in public places during the prohibited hours.

There's worse in there, more gross violations of the human dignity of parents, and refusal to respect the humanity of youth. The home is a heinous place for governmental authority to overstep its bounds, but this happens elsewhere.

Or there are other things, which have large implications against the principle of academia. In one post, we hear about a student banned from student council because:
it [a lower federal court] believed she could be punished for writing in a blog because the blog addressed school issues and was likely to be read by other students."

That's one of the happier ones, of free speech being quashed and the quashing being contested. There's other horror, at least as bad as that, and it ranges from clothing violations to suspension for doing the right thing to something akin to gulags.

I'm not advocating the vote be extended all the way down to the youngest of children (in this sample of stories, that's grade school). I am, however, in favor of extending civil rights further down, and if that cannot be done without some extension of the vote to youth (16 or 14 being the target goals), then the vote should be extended, and citizenship besides should go at least that far, conferring not just human rights but American rights on our nations youth. The alternative is, at best, frustrating, and at worst it is terrifying.

No comments: