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The Final Nail in the Coffin: The Death of Freedom in Our Schools

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Young Alex Stone didn't even make it past the first week of school before he became a victim of the police state. Directed by his teacher to do a creative writing assignment involving a series of fictional Facebook statuses, the 16-year-old wrote, "I killed my neighbor's pet dinosaur. I bought the gun to take care of the business."

What followed is par for the course in schools today: students were locked down in their classrooms while armed police searched Stone's locker and bookbag, handcuffed him, charged him with disorderly conduct, arrested him, detained him, and then he was suspended from school. No weapons or dead dinosaurs were found.

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Keshana Wilson, a 14-year-old student at a Pennsylvania high school, was tasered in the groin by a police officer working as a school resource officer, allegedly because she resisted arrest for cursing, inciting a crowd of students, and walking on the highway. "The teenager had to be taken to hospital to have the taser probes removed before she was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on the officer, simple assault, riot, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, failure to disperse and walking on the highway," noted one reporter.

Rounding out the lesson in compliance, police officers who patrol schools in Compton, Calif., are now authorized to buy semi-automatic AR-15 rifles and carry them in their patrol car trunks while on duty. A few states away, in Missouri, a new state law actually requires that all school districts participate in live-action school shooting drills, including realistic gunfire, students covered in fake blood, and bodies strewn throughout the hallways.

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Now these incidents may seem light years away from the all-too-grim reality of the events that took place in Ferguson, Missouri, but they are, in fact, mere stops along the way to the American police state. As such, parents with kids returning to school would do well to consider these incidents fair warning, because today's public schools have become microcosms of the world beyond the schoolhouse gates, and increasingly, it's a world hostile to freedom.

Indeed, as I show in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, within America's public schools can be found almost every aspect of the American police state that plagues those of us on the "outside": metal detectors, surveillance cameras, militarized police, drug-sniffing dogs, tasers, cyber-surveillance, random searches, senseless arrests, jail time, the list goes on.

Whether it takes the form of draconian zero tolerance policies, overreaching anti-bullying statutes, police officers charged with tasering and arresting so-called unruly children, standardized testing with its emphasis on rote answers, political correctness, or the extensive surveillance systems cropping up in schools all over the country, young people in America are first in line to be indoctrinated into compliant citizens of the new American police state.

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Zero tolerance policies, which punish all offenses severely, no matter how minor, condition young people to steer clear of doing anything that might be considered out of line, whether it's pointing their fingers like a gun, drawing on their desks, or chewing their gum too loudly.

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John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead's aggressive, pioneering approach to civil liberties has earned him numerous accolades and (more...)
 

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