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EDITORIAL: APS ignores civil rights boundaries

On the topic of violating free speech, which seems to be an oft-occurring event these days, four teachers are suing Albuquerque Public Schools for First Amendment infringement.

These teachers, from Rio Grande High School, Highland High School and Albuquerque High School, were all suspended, according to the Albuquerque Tribune, "for refusing to remove antiwar signs from their classrooms."

The Tribune goes on to say that the "school district says the educators violated the terms of their employment contracts, citing the district's controversial issues policy." However, the teachers have filed suit in the U.S. District Court, claiming that, "the school district and a number of its employees violated the four educators' civil rights under the free speech and equal protection provisions of the First and Fourteenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution and under similar provisions of the state constitution."

As a graduate of Albuquerque High School and therefore a product of the APS system (take that as you may), I witnessed an excess of violations in many forms during my tenure as a high school student. I watched the district lines change and money stop going into my school. I watched my former principal, who was finally fired two years ago, run my school into the ground and many decent teachers leave, while APS stood by and watched.

The Albuquerque Public School system has destroyed its credibility in the past 10 years and formally reprimanding teachers for their personal views is merely the tip of the iceberg.

APS schools do not discourage pro-war discussion or propaganda in the classroom, so the same should be applied on the antiwar side. But APS has always been about being one-sided. Anyone can take a close look at the district line map, see how many minorities are in certain schools and what schools get the most money funneled into them.

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My senior history teacher used to reprimand us for sitting on the tables in her classroom. "Don't sit on the desks," she said. "What do you think we are - La Cueva?" Meaning: Albuquerque High didn't even have money to get new desks, while La Cueva High School never seems to have this problem.

The Albuquerque Public School system does not even know the meaning of equality, so how could it possibly know the meaning of free speech?

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