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OPINION

Tennessee Principal on Leave After Warning Kids about Twitter Censorship

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File

A Tennessee high school principal is on administrative leave after he told students they should be alarmed by the recent crackdown on free speech on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. 

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Barton Thorne, the principal of Cordova High School, told students during morning announcements that they needed to be aware of the censorship happening on social media.

“I’m not going to tell you what to think,  I just want to help you think,” he told students on a video that was later posted on YouTube.

“This isn’t about Trump,” he said. “This is about speech.”

Principal Thorne asked the young people to consider what happens when other groups filter and decide what you can hear and know about. 

“There have been times even in American history when a small group of people decided what you can hear,” he said. “Think about totalitarian government. Think about North Korea. Think about China. What makes those types of systems possible is the restriction and elimination of the free exchange of ideas.”

Imagine that – a public school administrator who is teaching kids to think for themselves. 

“What happens when the marketplace of ideas becomes a forced monopoly? What happens when you do not have dissenting opinions, when you do not have an exchange of competing ideas?” he told students. 

Apparently, defending free speech is a big no-no in Shelby County Schools. 

“The principal at Cordova High School has been placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the review of the comments that were made,” spokesperson Jerrica Phillips told television station WREG.

The school district’s Office of Equity and Access (whatever the heck that is) also weighed in on the situation. 

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“Emotionally charged situations, we have to sometimes temper back, recalibrate, think about the message we’re sending to our student,” spokesman Michael Lowe told the television station. “Because Cordova is like the City of Memphis, it’s made up of a salad bowl of many different students of all areas of Memphis.”

What sort of fruit salad nonsense is the Office of Equity and Access? Lowe seems to believe it’s a crime to encourage young people to think critically about the big issues of the day.

“We have to be aware and at a heightened sense. We have to be culturally aware and also have our students have an outlet so they can express themselves and feel value,” Lowe told the Fox 13 in Memphis. 

Culturally aware? I think we all know what that’s code for.

Instead of punishing Principal Thorne he should be given a pay raise and a certificate of merit. He should be saluted for educating the kids at Cordova High School instead of indoctrinating them.

The taxpayers and parents in Memphis should be celebrating the fact that Principal Thorne is running Cordova High School as a place to educate kids, not indoctrinate kids.

 We need more principals like that in America. 

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