Rights!

Sixteen-year-old Jim Hennessy is angry. His rights have been violated, as has been his "personal freedom." What's at stake that caused the New York Times to give Jim's story prominent attention? Free speech? Religious expression? Not, it's worse; Darien High School had the audacity to require Jim and his peers to pass a breathalyzer test before entering a school dance.

"What you do off school grounds should be your own business," says Jim.

Um, yeah, Jim, maybe that's true if you stay off school grounds (and then it's your business and your parents' business). But setting sobriety as a prerequisite to school functions is hardly a step toward the Third Reich. Nor is it a panacea; as the local school board chairman admitted to the Times, "It doesn't solve the problem of teenage drinking. But it solves the problem of teenage drinking at school dances."

It's hard to fault Jim entirely, though. He's lived his entire life in the age of student "rights" guaranteed by the Supreme Court, no less (see here). Believing he has the right to attend school dances drunk is just the logical extension of decades of court decisions, you might say. What would help is the Court deciding, a la Clarence Thomas, that minors don't have free speech rights--much less the right to get bombed. I'd drink to that.

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