Freedom of Speech? Not in High School!

Freedom of Speech? Not in High School!

Airsoft_FLyndon Johnson was president when I was in high school, so I can't claim much familiarity with modern instructional norms, but a case in Massachusetts reported on the Guns Save Lives website makes it clear that the Bill of Rights is not getting a lot of emphasis these days.

Tito Velez, a student at Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School in Taunton, Mass., was dressed up for a night out with his girlfriend. The pair grabbed some airsoft guns and posed for pictures taken by his father. Their gun handling was impeccable, with muzzles pointed to the floor and fingers correctly positioned off the triggers. This was not a case of youngsters aping a poster of some gangsta rappers; the photo shows some well-groomed teenagers posing in a living room with some distinctively non-lethal airsoft guns.

That would have all been fine if Velez had just kept the photos on his computer, but he posted them to Facebook. Authorities at the school saw them and suspended both teens for 10 days. In a plaintive Facebook posting, Velez said:

"I understand it was wrong to take a picture with guns but come on. My dad took the photos, in my house. The guns were pointed at the floor, on safety, mock mags in, and our fingers weren't on the trigger. We had a responsible adult and he isn't against Airsoft. He knows gun safety and he keeps my guns, i dont have them unless im out at the fields."


No, Tito, it's not wrong to take a picture with guns, airsoft or real, in your house or elsewhere. It's exercising your First Amendment rights, which were upheld for high school students in the Tinker decision when I was in high school in 1969. The notion that a school has the authority to police student speech outside school hours and off school grounds is preposterous even by today's extremely debased standards of civil liberty.


Let's make the disclaimer that the GSL site only mentions one side of this controversy, and perhaps there are circumstances here about which we don't know. But there have been enough cases of hysterical overreaction by school authorities that Velez' story is hardly beyond belief.


I've said it here before, and I'll reiterate it. I'm a lot more worried about the First Amendment than the Second, because while the right to bear arms has expanded in recent years (except in benighted spots like California or Connecticut), freedom of speech is being eroded a little every day in incidents like this one. The local school board needs to intervene to rein in its overzealous administrators and return Velez and his girlfriend to class.

Alternatively, every kid in that school should post a picture holding a gun. Let's see them throw them all out.

Recommended for You

Want the “Holy Grail” of AR-15 rifles? Brownells has made that possible with their BRN-Proto retro rifle. Rifles

Brownells BRN-Proto Retro Rifle

Patrick Sweeney - July 02, 2019

Want the “Holy Grail” of AR-15 rifles? Brownells has made that possible with their BRN-Proto...

Berger Bullets is now shipping the new 6.5mm 156gr EOL Elite Hunter projectiles to exclusive retailers. Ammo

Berger 6.5mm 156gr EOL Elite Hunter Bullets Available Now

Berger Bullets - July 10, 2019

Berger Bullets is now shipping the new 6.5mm 156gr EOL Elite Hunter projectiles to exclusive...

CZ-USA's handy CZ 527 7.62x39mm bolt gun now accepts a sound suppressor. Rifles

Suppressor-Ready CZ 527 Review

David M. Fortier - July 22, 2019

CZ-USA's handy CZ 527 7.62x39mm bolt gun now accepts a sound suppressor.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New addition to the Browning X-Bolt rifle series

New addition to the Browning X-Bolt rifle series

New for 2019 is the Max Long Range model featuring a composite Max stock with fully adjustable comb, spacers for adjusting length of pull, stainless fluted heavy sporter barrel, threaded muzzle brake and extended bolt handle.

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

From Smith & Wesson, the M&P Shield M2.0 is a great option for a carry gun with optics option.

Hornady

Hornady's New A-Tip Line of Match Bullets

Hornady Manufacturing, has developed a new line of match bullets. The A-Tip is designed for precision and long-range shooting.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

No one can restore receptivity to another Trump term with these disaffected gun owners but the president himself. 2nd Amendment

2020 is Trump's to Blow with Gun Owners

David Codrea - July 09, 2019

No one can restore receptivity to another Trump term with these disaffected gun owners but the...

If you want to keep the peace, keep and bear arms. Don't give up your guns. Any other choice would be ridiculous. 2nd Amendment

Is Red Dawn Really Just Ridiculous? If Not, Who Would Citizen Disarmament Help?

David Codrea - May 29, 2019

If you want to keep the peace, keep and bear arms. Don't give up your guns. Any other choice...

A $50 Ring Loc-Kit gives AirForce Condor airgunners unparalleled power and accuracy. Air Guns

AirForce Airguns Condor Ring-Loc Kit Review

Tom Gaylord - May 29, 2019

A $50 Ring Loc-Kit gives AirForce Condor airgunners unparalleled power and accuracy.

See More Stories

More 2nd Amendment

Knives are five times more dangerous than rifles according to latest FBI crime stats. 2nd Amendment

FBI: Knives Are Five Times Deadlier Than Guns

Jim Grant - October 01, 2019

Knives are five times more dangerous than rifles according to latest FBI crime stats.

It wasn't until after some high profile police shootings started drawing media criticism that DeWine decided that he could no longer politically afford to ignore the obvious, so he did what comes so naturally to him: He reversed course. 2nd Amendment

DeWine On Again/Off Again with Gun-Grabber Roots

David Codrea - October 17, 2019

It wasn't until after some high profile police shootings started drawing media criticism that...

After one student posted photos on SnapChat of the firearms he and his mother were preparing to pack up for a day, another student anonymously reported him to his principle. 2nd Amendment

Colorado Teen Suspended for Shooting Guns at Range with Mom

Jim Grant - September 05, 2019

After one student posted photos on SnapChat of the firearms he and his mother were preparing...

See More 2nd Amendment

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.