In "The Risky Proposition of Free Speech" by Paul August, contends the issue of freedom of speech of students and teachers in high school. August finds that, since an incident involving two students threatening President Bush's life and then being interrogated by the Secret Service, freedom of speech can be a dangerous tool and should be limited. It seems August believes that freedom of speech should be more of a privilege, not a right. August also says, "Threats...are taken seriously."
I agree freedom of speech should be used with caution and at times is a dangerous tool, yet I don't believe that not all threats are taken seriously. The students that were interrogated by threatening the President should have not been taken solemnly. August says, "Suppose the teacher had never reported this and the kids went into the streets of Oakland and shot someone? Then the teacher is the scapegoat."
I disagree. The students were most likely joking. August says that they were only 16 years old. How could two 16 year olds access a gun, fly to Washington DC (they were from Oakland, CA), wait for the President and then shoot him? Not to mention bringing a gun on board on an airplane is complicated. Since September 11th, airline security has been sterner. Anyone can say "I hate the President" but no 12, 13, or even 16 year old can say, "I'm going to shoot the President." It is understandable if an adult threatens the President, but not a young adolecenst.
If someone is in a theater and all of the sudden screams "FIRE! This whole PLACE is gonna burn down!" but there isn't a fire and everyone panics, they could be prosecuted. Yet August states that when it comes to high school students, freedom of speech should...