Many to blame


This letter appeared in the Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, Texas) on 14 November 1999.

This item may be cited as M. R. Franks, Letter to the Editor: Many to blame, Denton Record-Chronicle, November 14, 1999, at 20A.

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 you, the fine citizens of Denton County, need to hold accountable those most responsible for traumatizing an innocent child while making international laughing stock out of the United States in general and your 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 instructed to do.

As a law professor at Southern University in Louisiana, I see the 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
Baton Rouge, La.

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