Kilroy Was Here
December 31, 2003
Free Speech
Tim Bueler starts a Conservative Club, and is "hounded for his views."

How does this hounding take place? Is he prevented from telling others about his viewpoints? Have school officials tried to keep the club from forming? Let's take a look at the tape:

Watenpaugh said the district fully supports students' right to form a group like the Conservative Club as long as it follows guidelines set forth by the student body. He said the club meets those guidelines by meeting during times when classes aren't being held and having a faculty adviser.

English teacher Bernadette Tucker, club adviser, said she became involved because she believes students should exercise their First Amendment rights.

``Just because something is not popular it doesn't mean you can't say it,'' Tucker said.

However, the Times makes it sound as if the school is unsupportive of the Conservative Club.

In a telephone interview, Tim said he's been threatened at least three times by Hispanic students who call him "white boy" and "racist." One boy said he was going to "find someone" to beat up Tim.

In two of those instances, Tim said two faculty members stood by and did nothing to help him. Most recently, Tim said, he was confronted by a dozen Hispanic boys, who blocked him from walking down the hallway.

"They said, 'You're a racist,' and I said, 'Are you guys going to let me through?' " Tim said. "So I ducked into a classroom and told the teacher what was happening, and said, 'Can you help me?' And she said, 'No. Get out of here.' "

Earlier, he said he was eating lunch in a classroom when about seven Hispanic students surrounded him. Worried for Tim's safety, his father, Dennis Bueler, said he asked for help from a teacher who was also in the room.

"The teacher told him, 'When you say things like that, you've got to expect that things like this are going to happen. Why don't you go out the back door?' " Mr. Bueler said in recounting the incident.

This hounding takes the form mostly of verbal taunts, and the blunt threats common to high schools. The thing that is interesting to me is how victimized Tim feels. Obviously, his rights are being violated. How? By other people exercising there rights.

We do not prevent people from exercising their free speech rights by calling them rude when they say something we find offensive, or by criticising the policies we don't agree with. In fact, that's the nature of free speech.

Tim, you're not being oppressed. When you say things like, ``We obviously believe the liberals are trying to destroy everything in America that our forefathers fought and died for," you're just being rude.
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