False Imprisonment
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by Brian Mos

There are places across the state where people are kept against their will. Some of these facilities hold upwards of 1000 persons. While you are in these places, you will be subjected to both physical and mental abuse. The controllers at this facility will try to make you acceptable for release into society, but will rarely succeed. People in this place will rape and kill each other. You will have little difficulty finding drugs or weapons. If you try to escape from these dehumanizing pens, individuals with guns will send you into an even worse cage. Lots and lots of money will be spent, but very little will ever help you, as countless levels of bureaucracy always seem to suck up most of the funds they see.

I am talking about one of two institutions: prison or public school. At the age of 16, we can legally leave school with our parents' permission. At 17 we can leave whether out parents like it or not. Until we reach 16, we are prisoners of the state. At sixteen we become prisoners of our parents. At seventeen, we will finally have our liberties acknowledged.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution asserts that no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction equal protection of the law. The Supreme Court has stated that students are protected by the Constitution (Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 1969).

I then ask, "Isn't the State of Florida depriving us of liberty by passing laws making truancy illegal?" I have never been taken to trial (the usual meaning of due process) and sentenced to 13 years of school. Yet, if I choose not to attend school, police officers will lock either me or my parents in jail. Maybe you believe that it is O.K. to violate our rights if it is for a good cause. Is public school a good cause? Many people graduate without being able to read their diplomas. American students rank below the global average for mathematical knowledge. Should I ever want to get my hands on some high potency marijuana, I would have little difficulty. Most of us have seen a plethora of weapons being carried by students on school grounds. Do we really need to force students who would rather be elsewhere into public schools?

It is often said that an education will help a person to get a job. While both literacy and the ability to perform basic math are necessary for most jobs, high school does not teach these skills. When you begin high school, it is assumed that you understand these basic skills, thus high schools do not teach addition, subtraction and how to read. While I have learned a great deal in chemistry, it is doubtful that I will ever use it. There are many different types of jobs that use science skills, but these jobs make up a very small percentage of the job market. I do not believe that most people will ever need most of what they learn in high school. To force people to attend high school will not help them, as they will not learn anything, but it will keep others, who do want to learn, from absorbing as much information as possible, since those who are being forced to attend will waste the class's time and resources. While they are being obnoxious, it is difficult to lay all of the blame on them. They are not here by choice.


This page was last updated 07/02/00 01:50 PM