Pick Your Battles

Posted by Brandon |

The Rhode Island chapter of the ACLU has filed a lawsuit against Portsmouth High School because a student was not allowed to use a picture showing him in chain mail and carrying a sword (left) as his high school senior yearbook photo. They are seeking an injunction against the publication of the yearbook if the picture is not used.

The school claims that the picture is in violation of the school's no-tolerance policy towards weapons. The mother of the boy is trying to poke holes in the no-tolerance argument by citing an offer by the school's principal to let her use it in a congratulations advertisement in the yearbook, the fact that school drama groups are allowed to use fake weapons in their plays, and that the school's mascot carries a gun (he's a patriot!).

It's hard to figure out who will come out on top in this case, but either way, the fact that somebody is filing a lawsuit to stop the publication of a yearbook because of this photo is totally and completely ridiculous. I understand that this student really enjoys his time spent with the Society of Creative Anachronism but why in the world does he need to have a sword in his senior portrait? Why can't they just split the difference and use a picture of him without the massive weapon.

I hate to do this because I respect the ACLU and what they do in more important cases and I respect them for how much they make conservatives furious, but I have to blame them for letting this case ever come to this point. This is not a free speech issue. This is not an infringing on somebody's rights issue. The ACLU should never have taken this case. They should have told the student and his mother that they are ridiculous for expecting to get this picture published and that they should just move on. Refer them to a commercial attorney if they insist on pushing it further and be done with it.

It is so frustrating as a liberal that feels strongly about protecting our individual freedoms to see the ACLU, a group that we are going to need the help of in the long run, continue to file frivolous lawsuits when they could easily settle the dispute with a little bit of work. Lawsuits like this and the one that Dave wrote about earlier this year tear down any integrity that they have managed to build and help justify the anti-ACLU fire amongst conservatives.

All I ask of the ACLU is that they pick their battles better. Quit diluting your power and wasting your time by helping a spoiled little brat and his mother bully a school into submission because they want to break a simple, common sense policy.


kapgar said...

Please tell me it's April 1 and my calendar's simply off a bit.

Avitable said...

They should start an off-shoot for the loonybin cases and call it the CACLU - the Crazy American Civil Liberties Union.

It's like Disney spinning off the R-rated movies to another production company so that it maintains a pristine reputation.

Dave2 said...

WTF?? Do they keep taking on ridiculous stuff like this to INTENTIONALLY make them look insane? I remain dumb founded as to what passes for "violation of free speech" now-a-days.

Anonymous said...

Screw that facist regime. If that nerd wants to wear armor and a sword in his yearbook, he should. I remember highschool. If I could have thought of a way to get the ACLU to sue my school, I would have.

I think he deserves a hi-5 for sticking it to his school. Remind me to call the ACLU next time they won't let me bring a chainsaw to midnight shows of Evil Dead.