A laughingstock

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

This letter appeared in the Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas) on 17 November 1999.

This item may be cited as M. R. Franks, Letter to the Editor: A laughingstock, Dallas Morning News, November 17, 1999, at 32A.

Copyright © 1999, M. R. Franks



Dear Editor:

Citizens of Denton County can thank District Attorney Bruce Isaacs, Ponder High School Principal Chance Allen, and teacher Amanda Henry for an uncalled-for overreaction that has now made world news, from the BBC in London to the papers in Paris. And the fine citizens of Denton County need to hold accountable those most responsible for traumatizing an innocent child while making an international laughingstock out of the United States in general and their community in particular.

I'm referring to the treatment accorded Christopher Beamon when, following his teacher's specific instruction to write a Halloween horror fantasy, he did precisely what he had been told to do.

As a law professor in Louisiana, I see this draconian disregard of Christopher's First Amendment rights as utterly unacceptable in a free society. I, for one, hope Christopher's parents sue. If they do, my prediction is that they will most likely win.

Those responsible for the arrest of this innocent boy should in the meantime apologize not only to Christopher but to the entire community and then resign with heads hung in shame.


M. R. Franks, Associate professor of law
Southern University
Baton Rouge, La.


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