Pubdate: Tue, 19 Jun 2007
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2007 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: Richard Wooldridge


As one of the protesters at the high school in Wawota in support of
student Kieran King's civil liberties on June 12, I felt like I was in
Selma, Alabama, in the 1960s or in the Soweto township in South Africa
in the 1980s.

But this was Wawota, Saskatchewan, in 2007 with the Parkland high
school under lockdown because a handful of patriotic Canadians had
chosen to highlight the anti-democratic jackboot policies of the
school's principal.

We are told by our government that our troops in Afghanistan are
killing and being killed for the "freedoms we all enjoy", but our
children in Wawota are not permitted to discuss soft drug policy
without fear of intimidation or harassment by their own teachers!

Perhaps we should redeploy our troops to Wawota from Kandahar to
defend freedom and democracy closer to home. (OK, they have not been
invited, but then again I don't think they were invited to Afghanistan

For our desire to demand freedom of speech, we were accused of being
"B.C. hippies" intent on spreading the "drug culture" -- this by a
so-called public health nurse who seemed to make herself some
self-appointed spokesperson for Wawota's parents.

Instead of discussing her perspective in a reasonable and constructive
way, she yelled at us and attempted to belittle us with inferences of
being alien and foreign.

This is something -- despite being born here -- I have had thrown at
me a fair amount for "my different ways" in this province. It has been
used to assail me, marginalize me and degrade me, but the anger and
hate I felt in Wawota was the closest I have felt to being overwhelmed
by such sentiment. All this because a modest number of folks from
around the province wished to defend the right of a young man to
explore all sides of an issue.

What is our beautiful, once-free nation becoming? A land of
fascist-inspired no-fly lists where you cannot even discuss the
potential rationalities of a nonprohibitionist soft-drug policy in a
place of education?

May the spirits of true democracy and truly free education save us
from ourselves!

Richard Wooldridge

- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake