Friday, May 28, 2010

Teachers Suspended for Showing Flex Your Rights Video

Flex Your Rights, founded to educate the public about constitutional rights during police encounters, has been embraced by both the police and the public. Every citizen should understand their basic Bill of Rights protections, so it's completely understandable why two high school teachers in Virginia decided to show "BUSTED: A Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" to their 12th grade government classes. Unfortunately, the two Norview High School teachers were put on leave this week after a parent complained that they showed a video and distributed handouts that gave advice on how to deal with police if stopped.

"She came home recently and said, 'You wont believe what we are learning in Government. They are teaching us how to hide out drugs,'" the parent recounted.
The message and intent of the teachers has been clearly misinterpreted. In each scene of BUSTED, it is explains how legal rights apply to police searches of vehicles, homes, or individuals and how people can cite those rights during police encounters. As the commentator on the video states:

"Whether or not you break the law, this video is designed to explain what the law is and how you can legally and properly assert your constitutional rights through even the most stressful police encounters."
As we know, millions of these encounters occur each year in America. Young people, who are targets in many of these encounters, deserve to be educated in how to handle these situations. People who not only understand their rights, but also know how to apply them are less likely to make regrettable decisions, reducing the likelihood of negative outcomes for both individuals and officers of the law. Flex Your Rights had this to say:

"Unfortunately, as we work to provide this important public service, we do sometimes receive criticism from individuals who misinterpret our discussion of constitutional rights as an endorsement of breaking the law. It's not. We sometimes depict and discuss criminal activity in our materials because there are important legal lessons that are difficult to illustrate without it. Police are trained both to fight crime and uphold the constitution, and there are numerous instances in which these interests come into conflict with one another. Depicting such scenarios makes our work realistic, but should not make it controversial."
Please click here to share your concerns with the school administration.

1 comment:

William Cooke said...

Listen quietly and you will hear Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington rolling in their graves tonight.