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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Freedom, Shmeedom  
Think you live in a free and democratic society? Think again.

A federal lawsuit was filed last Wednesday on behalf of a 14-year-old rap artist and his parents, charging that the Riverside Beaver School District in Pennsylvania violated the student's First Amendment free speech rights by expelling the boy for rap music he wrote at home and posted on the Internet.

"School officials are not parents, and the First Amendment limits their authority to control what students read, write, rap or listen to in their own homes," said Witold Walczak, ACLU of Pennsylvania Legal Director.

The student, Anthony Latour, wrote and recorded the music at home and did not bring it into school. The principal admitted that the songs did not cause any disruption in the classroom.

Anthony has been writing and playing rap music for several years, and his parents bought him home recording equipment. His songs are fairly typical rap music, which include verbal challenges, "jousting" with other rappers and violent imagery.

In late April of this year, Anthony was arrested for several songs he composed over the past three years under the charge that the lyrics are "terroristic threats" because they describe acts of violence. Although the juvenile court charges are still pending, the school district expelled him from school for the rest of this year and next.


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A 14-year-old kid rapping at home is a terrorist?

Y'know, when the Patriot Act was first introduced, we (that is progressives) protested and fought against it. Its proponents declared that it would not be used for political purposes, like we said it would.

Uh huh. Told you so.