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 Letters Published in November 8, 2006 Issue



 Nov. 8, 2006 - Letter submitted by Mike Imel, Knightstown

I would like to share some of my thoughts with this community about the expulsions of four Knightstown students over a movie they made.

First, I want the community to know that this so called "threatening" DVD was made entirely off school grounds. The Henry County Prosecutor viewed the video and, finding no intimidation or threats present, decided no criminal charges will be filed. I have watched this video, too, and yes, there is a lot of bad language in it, but in no way is it a threat.

The only speech not protected under the First Amendment is a "true threat." A threat is defined by law as any speech that an objective or rational person would feel threatened by. The prosecutor says there are no threats in this video, yet our school corporation is expelling these students.

I want to know how we can allow the school administration to come into our kids' homes and punish them for their free speech away from school. What's next? Will they not allow our kids to have MySpace pages? Will they want to censor their diaries?

The current school administration, like a fascist regime, wants total control over our kids, including the kind of censorship Russia had under Stalin. The First Amendment's protection of free speech is the cornerstone of this country, but it appears that students in the Charles A. Beard Memorial School Corporation are being told they do not have this right.

CAB's new superintendent, David McGuire, got the last school corporation he headed sued, and our school corporation is now facing at least one lawsuit, with more possible, because he didn't like the comments that fictional characters made about one of his teachers in movie students filmed on their own time away from school.

I have a question for the current CAB administration: What kind of punishment is handed down to a student who smears dog feces in another student's face? Unlike the video my son and the other three students made, such an act would be a crime - a Class D felony. If something called out for an expulsion - or even criminal charges - that would be it, not this student video.

McGuire lives in Greenfield, so his property taxes won't increase as a result of litigation that results from these expulsions, but the taxes of those who live in the CAB community could. We cannot afford to allow this regime to expose our school corporation to costly lawsuits filed to correct what were wrong decisions to begin with. I am calling on the citizens in the CAB community not to allow what has happened to my son and these other three students to continue.

Believe me, if this can happen to my child, it can happen to anyone's.

The U.S. Supreme Court has said, " A student does not shed his constitutional rights at the school house door." It has also said that "disliking or being upset by the content of a student's speech is not an acceptable justification for limiting student speech," and that "our willingness to defer to the schoolmaster's expertise in administering school discipline rests, in large measure, upon the supposition that the arm of authority does not reach beyond the school house gate."

We, as citizens, need to take a stand and not let our children's off-campus lives be censored by school officials.



 Nov. 8, 2006 - Letter submitted by Bill and Doodles Kerr, Shirley

I am writing this letter to tell you about some great kids from the Knightstown area. Let me start from the beginning.

A little over a month ago, Will Kerr was killed in a car accident. He had lived in this area with his father and me for about 10 years. Over the years, we met several of his friends. Some we grew very close to and some were merely acquaintances. Regardless of our time spent with them, our opinion, for the most part, was the same as most people of our generation. These kids don't have a clue: they're careless, rebellious, listen to crazy music (very loudly, may I add), have too many piercings, and are generally lazy. This doesn't mean we didn't like them, because we did. Maybe we just didn't understand them. Let me just add this: These kids have huge hearts!

The outpouring of love and support we have received from these kids since Will's death has been tremendous. Not only have they given us emotional support, they have taken it upon themselves to help us out financially. On November 4, they had a fundraiser to raise money for Will's Memorial Fund. Michael "Frog" Gardner headed up the event, and with help from Daniel Chew, Brad Roberts and Bobby Lackey, they were able to have a Texas hold 'em tournament that netted over $500. Businesses in the community also pitched in with food and door prizes. Thank you to the following: Zippers, BP, Tom True Auto, Ernie's, Pic-n-Save, Top 10 Video/Tanning, Jeff's Pizza, Speedway and The Paddock.

We, along with the rest of Will's family, would like to thank everyone for their prayers, compassion and caring during this difficult time.

It is comforting to know that Will touched so many lives and we hope that positive things will continue to result from his death. God bless you all.


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