Blaine County isn’t like the rest of Idaho. The willingness of its residents to stand apart from herd thinking and to tolerate differences drives some people crazy. It leads them to try to bully residents into running with the herd.
The latest bully is a Jerome woman, Glenneda Zuiderveld, second runner-up in the District 25A Republican primary for a seat in the Idaho House. She’s been joined in her attack by state representatives from Twin Falls and Hammett.
She published cherrypicked photos of Wood River High School student art tiles that decorate the school’s ceilings.
The tiles reflect the times and knowledge of the students who have passed through its halls since 2012. The tile art illustrates all kinds of subject matter. A small number illustrate political winds blowing at the time.
Over time, the tiles will become a valuable historical record.
Zuiderfeld objected to them and called for school teachers, the principal and the school superintendent to be fired for allowing them.
When she ran for office, she listed herself as “pro-constitution.” Apparently, that didn’t include the First Amendment.
In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that “[s]tudents don’t shed their constitutional rights at the school house gates.” In that case, students were threatened with suspension if they wore black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. It was a time of many such protests by students who were seeing their graduated classmates drafted to fight that controversial war.
High school students do not live in a hermetically sealed environment, despite the desire of adults to protect them from all that is bad in the world. Schools are places where ideas are tested against facts and where students learn how to navigate the world of contradictory ideas.
Censorship won’t get them there.