Judge says student can recite poem at state competition
A federal judge Thursday gave a Reno ninth-grader permission to recite a poem at a state competition that administrators at his charter school sought to block because they said it contained profanity.
In his ruling, US District Judge Brian Sandoval said "hell" and "damn" in W.H. Auden's, "The More Loving One," does not constitute vulgar, lewd or offensive language that could disrupt the Coral Academy of Science's educational priorities.
Sandoval issued a temporary restraining order against the school sought by 14-year-old Jacob Behymer-Smith, who will recite the poem April 22nd during Poetry Out Loud, a recitation contest sponsored by the National Endowment of the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Now, I happen to share the judge's sensibilities. But where the hell do the courts get the right to make this any of their damn business? Society has the right to define itself, to limn its own mores. To govern itself. The kid's fourteen, for crissakes, and it's a scholastic competition.
Judges are not philosopher-kings. Their job is to interpret the law, but how this became a First Amendment issue, or how it became a federal case, I do not know.
Between you and me, the kid should just read "Howl", which is a much better poem. If the judge allows Auden, he must allow Ginsberg. Let's just defenestrate all of society's proprieties for children and adults alike, and get it over with.