Sunday, January 25, 2009

Say No To Friendly Fascism

[Ed Johnston visits my town now and then - Way to go Ed!] Jan-11-2009 12:09 An Argument for Prohibiting Fingerprinting or Bar-Coding of Students for Lunch Participation

How much further must we go before somebody, somewhere puts the foot down and says “NO.” This legislation would “just say no” to friendly fascism.

(SALEM, Ore.) - An Oregonian named Ed Johnston has drafted a letter for the Oregon Legislature highlighting serious concerns over fingerprinting and bar-coding of students for school lunch purposes.

A group called Cascade Consulting has already managed to sell this concept to Bend, Oregon schools. Johnston says it is a serious violation of Civil Rights, and he plans to pursue to matter until it is changed and that change is reflected in Oregon's laws. ---------------------------------------------------------

TO the state legislators of Oregon

FROM Ed Johnston

An argument for prohibiting fingerprinting or bar-coding of students for lunch participation

Dear Senators and Representatives: It is with shock and sadness that I propose legislation to prohibit the taking of student fingerprints and also ban the bar-coding, on their body or persons or property, of students in Oregon schools.

That matters have come this far towards “friendly fascism” is bad enough: the procedure of doing fingerprints in one school in Bend, under a contract with Cascade Consulting of Terrebone, is not some movie fantasy, it is real and happening.

That fingerprinting of Oregon citizens without any crime having been alleged or committed, and that the possibility of actually requiring students to have on their hand or arm or perhaps school lunch bag or backpack, a barcode, rendering them no longer even “consumers” but another commodity that is tracked, numbered and metaphorically consumed, is bad enough. But that it should be the students of our schools, who are in our care and trust—we being the state and hence the taxpayers of Oregon—makes this even worse.

Fingerprinting without probable cause that the person fingerprinted has committed a crime nor even any alleged crime is clearly a violation of the Fourth Amendment right to be secure in our persons, houses, papers and effects—whether imposed on adults or youth.

It also clearly is an assault upon the idea of “innocent until proven guilty,” in that it makes the students’ fingerprints now public property, and potentially places those prints into circulation in and among many offices and departments of state government—as I predicted would happen if the legislature passed SB 449, nearly a decade ago, which provided for sharing of data among state agencies, for the student’s own good, of course. Then there is the cost.

Cascade Consulting purports this technology would reduce school costs by regularizing school lunches. But at $170 to $200 per student per year, Cascade Consulting would end up charging large school districts hundreds of thousands of dollars, small districts tens of thousands, each year.

We have lost our art and music classes, our wood and metal shop classes, our auto mechanic classes, and our home economics classes. If we have the money for this totalitarian business, we can easily find better uses for it.

There is the story of the Arab and his camel. It is a cold night and the Arab, about to go to sleep, is surprised when his camel sticks his nose in the tent. “It is cold outside and my nose is freezing,” said the camel. “Do you think I could keep my nose in the tent?” The Arab said yes, and was about to fall asleep when the camel asked, “my eyes are freezing. Could I move my head into the tent.” The Arab again said yes. Next, the camel asked to get his neck; and then his whole body, into the tent. Eventually, the Arab was outside and the camel inside, the tent.

How far into the tent of “friendly fascism” have we gone already?

How much further must we go before somebody, somewhere puts the foot down and says “NO.” This legislation would “just say no” to friendly fascism.

As to the rest of this bill, please recall that I submitted this earlier, at it became SB 26.

School questionnaires or surveys that ask students about their alleged drug and alcohol use and about the alleged drug and alcohol use of their parents remain a totalitarian intrusion into family life and personal privacy. Even if for good intentions, to see how well we are doing combating Alleged teen drug and alcohol use, for instance, there are other metrics available—such as drug arrests of youth.

We do not need to make “informers” of our students to fight dangerous drugs and youthful drunk driving.

Finally, we certainly do not need to ask kids to inform if their parents own guns. There remains the Second Amendment, which the Supreme Court has sustained in operation via the case of District of Columbia v. Heller. I should think that case makes it clear that we do not have the right, as a state, to turn children into informers on their parents if their parents are doing something legal and constitutionally protected, like owning firearms.

Similarly, we do not have the right to make kids inform when their parents are breaking the law, with alleged drug use or bad alcoholic habits. Bad as these things are, it is up to children to be children, police officers to be police officers, and we confuse the two at great risk to our children, our citizens, our families and our freedom.

75th OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--2009 Regular Session

NOTE: Matter within { + braces and plus signs + } in anamended section is new. Matter within { - braces and minussigns - } is existing law to be omitted. New sections are within{ + braces and plus signs + }.

Senate Or House Bill ____

A BILL FOR AN ACT Relating to school surveys.

Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:

SECTION 1. { + (1) As used in this section, 'informed parentalconsent' means consent given after the parent or legal guardianhas been provided a copy of the survey that the school districtdesires to administer to the student.

(2) A school district may not administer, without prior writteninformed parental consent, any survey that asks for or revealsinformation concerning:

(a) Drugs or drug use by the student or a member of thestudent's family;

(b) Sexual behavior, activity or attitudes of the student or amember of the student's family;

(c) Guns or gun ownership by the student or a member of thestudent's family; or(d) Criminal activity by the student or a member of thestudent's family. + }

SECTION 2. { + Section 1 of this 2001 Act shall first apply toschool districts for the 2002-2003 school year. + }----------

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