Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Suspended for critical thinking

Kieran King is the kind of student schools, teachers and principals should be praying for. He's high achieving, engaged, and most importantly a critical thinker. When he hears something in class that intrigues him he does his own independent research on the subject.

That's where the problem started. After a classroom discussion about the horrifying dangers of 'the reefer' King did his own research and discovered what basically anybody who takes even a minimal amount of time doing the research discovers; marijuana is less addictive and less dangerous than alcohol and cigarettes.

Let's just repeat that:
marijuana is less addictive and less dangerous than alcohol and cigarettes.

If we're being honest and accurate and looking at the preponderance of verifiable facts as opposed to moralistic spin then we are forced to conclude that marijuana is less addictive and less dangerous than alcohol and cigarettes.

But pointing out these simple facts is a crime against orthodoxy, in a school it is a crime against the rightful authority over reality of the academic powers that be.
WINNIPEG — It started months ago when Kieran King's high-school class heard a presentation about the dangers of drug use.

Kieran, a 15-year-old Grade 10 student in tiny Wawota, Sask., population 600, thought the presentation lacked credibility, so he did some research on the relative health risks of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis.

When he told some of his fellow students that cannabis seemed the least hazardous of the three, he set in motion a series of events that led to a school lockdown, a threat assessment involving the RCMP, a suspension and failing grades on his exams.

The premise of the school authorities seems to be that any independent thinking that results in conclusions contrary to the approved consensus - let's call this goodthink - is dangerous, possibly criminal and to be demonized and stamped out. So the principal falsely conflates pointing out conflicting facts and an opposing opinion with 'promoting drug use' - lets call this, oh, say, badthink.

Badthink of course is morally wrong and possibly criminal, even if it has the facts on it's side it's still badthink. Those are just the wrong facts.

On the plus side of all this, the students at Parkland High in Wawota Saskatchewan have been given an excellent example of the unhinged extremes that power structures will resort to when somebody calls naked Emperor on their deliberate cognitive dissonance. Probably the most important and useful lesson of their academic careers.


Dr.Dawg said...

Shoot, you scooped me. :) Good post.

Cliff said...

The other thing I've started wondering - dude's in Shanghai learning Mandarin and teaching English. Once again, not an underachiever.

But have all of these news stories put him at risk in a part of the world not know for a permissive drug policy or a fondness for free speech activists? Chinese authorities know how to use the Google.

Tanya said...

Do the Chinese jail people for speaking about drugs? Because if not, then he has nothing to worry about.

Matthew The Astrologer said...

Here's hoping the kid grows up to be a constitutional lawyer...

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