The school district isn’t commenting, and I’m pretty sure there is more to this story than meets the eye. With the data currently available, however, it appears that a local school district wanted a student to have a psychiatric consultation for holding crudely expressed conservative views:
Redwood High School student Cyrus Massoumi said he plans to continue publishing his online conservative newspaper, even after receiving a five-day suspension from the school district.
“If I’m suspended again, or even expelled as a result, it’s worth it to me if the end result is that I’m educating people that this district will not accept a moderate or conservative voice,” Massoumi said.
Although school officials declined to comment on his case, Massoumi, 17, a senior, said he was suspended from school Wednesday for distributing flyers directing students to his online newspaper, which he previously stored on a school computer server.
He admits there are articles in The Deadwood Barf – a parody of the school newspaper The Redwood Bark – that many people might find offensive. But the Larkspur teen believes school administrators went too far in their response, sending a security guard to remove him from class and asking him to undergo a psychological evaluation.
“They asked me to sign a ‘no violence’ contract, saying that if I refused they would call the police and have me declared a physical threat,” Massoumi said. “It’s ridiculous.”
Tamalpais Union High School District officials said they could not discuss individual students or disciplinary actions.
Both Massoumi and his newspaper – which can be downloaded from a Web site – take issue with the political climate of both Redwood High School and Marin County, which he describes as “only open-minded enough to accept liberal views.”
“In the act of trying to refine our fine town, we have become that which we so greatly wanted to avoid – a mass of ignorant people,” Massoumi wrote in his newspaper. “This is not a school of diversity so much as a school where we have someone of every type of liberalism.”
Yet Massoumi said he’s less interested in spreading conservative ideology than he is in convincing fellow students to consider other sides of issues.
“Throughout my freshman, sophomore and junior year, I had liberal ideas,” Massoumi said. “It wasn’t until I joined the debate club that I heard conservative ideas, and realized that they weren’t all hate-filled rants, but were actually logical, moderate positions. Those ideas were never addressed in school, making it difficult for kids to make informed political decisions.”
You can read Massoumi’s stuff yourself here. It’s an overwhelming rant and it’s pretty ugly in the way it hurls nasty insults at fellow students and people in the community. It’s also extremely hostile to Israel (with the usual Zionist lobby crap) but, again, no threats of violence. Indeed, after painfully working my way through this 10 page manifesto, I think the most violent thing it suggested is “to cut down some trees, vandalize some Prius’s, and open the hell gates of reason and trample Marinism(Liberalism on steroids) yet again” — and that’s pretty clearly a rhetorical statement, not a call to arms.
Mostly, it’s a work that’s badly in need of an editor’s pencil, not a psychiatrist. The kid is just another angst ridden wannabe teen intellectual, but he frames his hysterial yelps in conservative, not liberal terms. Clearly, Massoumi feels marginalized and frustrated, but if he’s correct that he was threatened with the law and psychiatrists, it appears that the school went nuclear rather than handling him with more delicacy.
I would be very interested in learning the school’s position on this. In a vacuum, it sounds as if Massoumi, no matter how crudely he expresses himself, is in the right. However, if there is a bigger, broader history involved, it would help put the school’s response into perspective and explain why the administrators appear to have gone after him so aggressively.Email This Post To A Friend
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