Today, I was at the Children’s museum in San Diego, and I scrawled MEEP on the chalkboard. You know why? Because it’s my goddamned right to do so, and because Danvers High School is run by asshats.
Apparently, students at Danvers High, in Massachusetts, have adopted a little meme of using the word “meep” as a catch-all / one-word-sentence. This is just one of those things that teenagers do. This is one of the things that makes teenagers awesome. They come up with goofy antics that make us shake our heads, it makes them laugh, we move on.
Well… that is…. unless we’re asshats. Then, it just steams us up that the kids don’t respect our authoritah.
Danvers High Principal Murray decided that he had heard enough meeping. He had a robo-call placed to all the students’ homes, instructing them that anyone using the word “meep” at Danvers High would face suspension.
“It’s really not about the word in particular,” Murray said. “The reason for the message (was) a group of students were instructed to refrain from that language and other language in a particular part of the building.”
Murray gave students “a reasonable request” not to use the word to disrupt school in a hallway, and to stop other behaviors, but they did not listen, Murray said.
“Students were not going along with the direction or refraining from a particular type of language,” he said. (source)
They did not listen! You hear that? They disrespected his authoritah! They must be punished!
A lot of people emailed me the Salem Daily News story on the principal’s stupid maneuver — asking if it was a First Amendment issue. It might be. It might not be. But, I just laughed it off – and laughed thinking about how his attempt to squash the use of the word “meep,” was going to ensure that it became a huge phenomenon. I wasn’t even going to bother slamming Danvers High, or any of the dipshits who run the place.
But then this happened.
Attorney Theodora Michaels thought that Danvers High’s attempts were stupid. She wrote “It’s been a long time since I was in high school, but I still remember what it was like to be young, and chafing under what seemed like arbitrary and capricious rules set down by school authorities.” (source). I know what she means. A lot of wonderful people shepherded me along the road to becoming a First Amendment attorney, but if I were to really bestow thanks upon someone for my current happiness in life, it would have to be some of the authority-abusing douchebags I encountered as a teenager.
But back to Ms. Michaels.
She wrote an email to Principal Murray of Danvers High school. It had one line. One word.
That’s it. That was the subject line. That was the body of the email.
She got a reply. Assistant Principal Mark Strout wrote “Your E-mail has been forwarded to the Danvers Police Department.”
Okay, look… Danvers High Administration: (not that you’ll listen to me) The first step in getting out of a hole is to STOP DIGGING. It was a dumb move in the first place, but dumb moves by dumb school administrators are all part of life. But you sent an email that said MEEP to the police department? And then you actually thought that an attorney would be somehow moved by this idiotic display?
Smooth move, Ex-Lax!
It looks like this dumbass sent at least five emails to the POLICE! Overreaction #1 – the dumb decision to attempt to ban a word at school. Overreaction #2 – going all meeping crybaby when he gets ridiculed for it.
Part of me wanted to use these email addresses to just send my own MEEP email. But, instead, I think that I am going to thank these two clowns. Thank them because the First Amendment needs protection against clowns who are much more powerful than some vice principal in a high school. Without asshats like these guys, their students might never have begun thinking about how some people, drunk with a thimbleful of power, will abuse their position. Their students might have failed to question whether those who are “in charge” really belong there. Their students might have graduated from Danvers High without a deep curiosity about their Constitutional rights. When teenagers realize that some idiot has just imposed a rule upon them for an arbitrary and foolish reason, they start reading books about the Constitution. They start learning names like “Lenny Bruce” and “George Carlin” and “Larry Flynt.” They start to chafe. They start to think.
The seeds of adult dissent are planted like this every day.
So, thank you Thomas Murray and Mark Strout. By being shitheads, you have likely ensured that at least one of your students will write his law school admission essay about his experience at Danvers High during the great meep controversy of 2009. Maybe that kid will have a healthy dose of skepticism, smart ass attitude, and he’ll be quite a bit smarter than a flunky like you. And maybe that kid will become a First Amendment attorney and smack down bigger fish than you for a living.
I look forward to seeing that kid join the ranks.
Meep this, you pricks.