The front page of today’s New York Times featured an excellent article titled “Seeing the Toll, Schools Revise Zero Tolerance.” It spoke to a growing movement by school administrators in big cities to reconsider "zero-tolerance" policies and other "tough on crime" approaches in light of the effects that they are having on today's young people.
Nearly twelve years have passed since the first prisoner arrived in Guantánamo Bay, making it the longest-standing war prison in U.S. history. Today the prison holds 164 detainees, and it is no less a symbol of our nation’s failure to adhere to the rule of law and human rights than it was in 2002 when it first began housing prisoners.
On Sunday evening I took part in an exciting panel discussion in Porter on the issue of public financing and money in politics. These are complicated topics, and ones that good people frequently disagree over. And as yesterday’s packed house evidenced, it’s an issue that many Mainers are thinking heavily about as we get ready to enter a gubernatorial election year.
Today was our first student conference of the year – and it was our largest ever! With 242 students attending from 13 different schools, it was a packed house of eager youngsters ready to listen, discuss and debate on the great constitutional issues of their day.
In just two weeks we’ll host our first Bill of Rights Student Conference of the 2013-14 school year. We’ve got more than a dozen schools coming to our conference in Portland, and nearly a dozen more for the Farmington and Belfast conferences in the subsequent weeks. We’ll be covering lots of different topics at our conferences – from free speech to equal protection to police stops – but perhaps the freshest topic of them all will be bullying.
In 1967, the Supreme Court famously ruled that “Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival.” In doing so, the Court rejected Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute as unconstitutional, thus ending all race-based restrictions on marriage across the United States. Like most landmark rulings, the story behind Loving vs. Virginia is not just about the legal issues, it’s also about the people who were affected and how they fought to get justice. On Wednesday, you can hear that amazing story.
Happy Banned Books Week! This is the 31st year that the freedom to read will be officially honored. If you visit a local bookstore this week you may well find displays of challenged books or other events dealing with censorship. Here at the ACLU of Maine, we’re also getting in on the weeklong celebration – and you can join us!
Nine years ago, Congress passed a law establishing September 17th as “Constitution Day” and requiring all schools that receive federal funding to observe the new holiday by providing educational programming on that day about the history of the U.S. Constitution.
After last year’s flop in the AFC Championship game, yesterday was the first step in redemption for the New England Patriots. Like many Mainers, I was excited to watch our new team kick off their season – and I was even more excited that they (barely) pulled out the win against Buffalo. But with all that’s gone on this offseason for the Pats, it was hard not to think back on differences between this year’s team and last – and no, I’m not talking about Wes Welker leaving for Denver.
With a new school year upon us, the ACLU of Maine is eager to begin our work educating students about the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Last year we reached 41 schools in all 16 counties, with more than 1,650 students taking part in our workshops.