Writing project lands student in jail

Denise Watt

Denise Watt

I am terrified.

Not of school shootings. But of a way of thinking, I fear has become too common.

An Illinois high-school student now faces disorderly conduct charges for doing his homework. The assignment? To write freely, without reservation. The student, Allen Lee, did, and last week his essay garnered an arrest and an ousting from the Marines.

His work contains profanity and references to violence. And authorities over-reacted.

Arrested for doing his homework? When did we become so scared of free expression?

The right to write belongs not only to journalists, but to all. And those seeking an education should be among the first to defend that freedom.

Lee did not make threats toward a specific person. Sure, his writing may be troubling, but he is not the first to write incendiary material. Nor will he be the last.

As opinion editor, I read things every week I don’t agree with. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Free speech breeds free thought. Let’s keep it that way.