Everyone remembers being in high school and rebelling against authority, including the facists who run such institutions with their hall passes and dance chaperones. Apparently, today things are even more restrictive, including breathalyzer tests administered routinely during the school day. Sobriety Tests Are Becoming Part of the School Day [NYTimes.com].
What I find most interesting, however, is not that this stuff is occurring — that’s just an update of the battles waged between teenagers and teachers since James Dean in the 1950s — but that communities are themselves rebelling against the exercise of such intrusive school authority. The courts routinely uphold almost all steps schools invoke against students, regardless of the privacy implications, on the ground that minors do not enjoy the same First Amendment rights as adults and that schools act in loco parentis (in the place of the parents). But as the Times reports, “such policies easily survive legal challenges, but often crumple under community opposition.”
That’s a good example of why the law is not always (indeed, rarely) the answer to social problems. It’s also an illustration that even parents, of which I am now one, can sometimes live up to the ideal of “Do as I Do,” not just “Do as I Say.”