A high school student who wrote an essay describing violent and sexual events was arrested for "disorderly conduct" in the Chicago area last week. The student, Allen Lee, who had recently signed enlistment papers was also told that his application to the Marine Corps had been revoked.
The eighteen-year-old had been told to write whatever he wanted in a creative writing class. It was a 'free writing' exercise in which the instructions included: "write whatever comes into your mind...do not judge or censor what you are writing...don't cross anything out."
Police searched his room at his parents' house and confiscated his computer. The school authorities removed him from the general student population and placed him in a separate building to continue his education. He said he was told he might be expelled.
I've read some excerpts from his essay and they contain disturbing images which suggest he might benefit from counselling and that it would be justified for the police to interview him to make sure that he had no intention of carrying out the violent acts described--but arrest him and charge him with two counts of disorderly conduct? Ruin his potential career in the Marines?
If freedom of speech doesn't apply in a writing class when you are instructed to 'write whatever comes into your mind and do not judge or censor what you are writing' where does it apply?