E-W student suspended after he gives unapproved campaign speech

“Dear fellow students, my name is Pascal Cloutier, and I am here to tell you the truth.”

So began the speech of Edmonds-Woodway High School student Pascal Cloutier, candidate for Associated Student Body president, during a broadcast over the high school’s television station, WBN, on Monday. Problem was, the speech he gave wasn’t the same one that had been approved by school administrators. And the contents — a passionate criticism of the current ASB system as ” just puppets of the teachers” — generated some equally passionate responses.

As a result, Cloutier was suspended for one-and-a-half days, a punishment that he says — according to the district’s own rules — does not fit the offense.

“I knew that the key message that I was trying to get across would not be approved,” Cloutier said. “So I turned in one speech and it got approved, but when I went on the air, I gave another speech.”

Cloutier said he viewed his speech as “an act of civil disobedience” and expected that there would be a consequence: The inability to run for ASB office during the current school year, as spelled out in the ASB constitution.

“I took a calculated risk,” Cloutier admits. “I looked it up in the Constitution and recognized that I would be disqualified for giving the speech I gave.”

He didn’t expect what happened next, however. Shortly after he gave the speech, he was pulled out of class to meet with school administrators, who told him that he was being suspended because his speech “presented a major problem to the school learning environment.” What type of problem? Cloutier said he was told it was “because students clapped and cheered and others were arguing. Teachers were talking about it.” He was told that some teachers were so upset that they started calling the school office.

Cloutier served a half day of the suspension on Monday afternoon, and the remaining day on Tuesday. Meanwhile, fellow students created a “Free Pascal” page on Facebook, which now has more than 200 fans, and held a protest in the high school office, complete with “Free Pascal” posters and T-shirts.

Cloutier’s mother, Priya Sinha, said she has requested a hearing with district officials, as required by law. The issue is that “a short-term suspension may not be imposed unless other forms of punishment have at first been taken,” she said. If that appeal is unsuccessful, she will take the matter before the school board or even to Snohomish County Superior Court — “as far as I need to,” she said.

Edmonds School District spokesperson D.J. Jakala said that the district couldn’t comment on the matter. “Under no circumstances do we violate the privacy rights of students and publicly discuss disciplinary actions,” she said.

Cloutier said his inspiration to give the speech stemmed from his experience last year as freshman class president, when he learned that students really didn’t have much say in how the student government was run. In fact, just about every decision was filtered through the teachers, he added.

He tried to change the system through official channels by proposing the creation of what he described as “a truly student representative body, a student union,” he said. “I went to a teacher’s meeting, and the teachers agreed it was a good idea. Then I went to the (EWHS) principal,  and she said this would have to be approved by someone higher up.” After two weeks with no action, Cloutier decided to take matters into his own hands and make a point by giving his speech.

“I had no malicious intentions toward the teachers at all,” he said. “I just wanted to create a truly representative student body. I don’t regret anything that I did and I’m surprised at the consequences and harsh reaction of the school. Students are talking about it, and I’m glad they are taking a stance on something and really getting involved.”

Added Priya Sinha: “A teacher was standing there the entire time he was giving his speech and they could have cut him off at any point. If they were so worried about people’s reactions, why didn’t they cut him off in the middle?”

Here is the text of Pascal Cloutier’s speech:

I am not here to beg you to vote for me, or to lie about how great of a school president I would make.
I am going to tell you about the “associated student body” or ASB.
First of all, ASB has no real power. ASB is not a governing body like the Congress, its president is not a real president. They are just puppets of the teachers.
They say that they represent us, they say that they try and make the school a better place; however, the truth is that they don’t.
They make us play games, they run assemblies meant to distract us, and they do everything in their power to divide the common students and turn us against each other.
They do nothing to help us, they do not stand up for the student body: instead, they do everything in their power to divide and destroy us.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I think it is time that we, the students, stood up for ourselves!
It is time for us to cast off the shackles of lies and oppression! Comrades, it is time for us to get rid of ASB!
Now some of you are thinking right now, and I know you are, especially you I.B. Kids. You’re thinking, “why should I disagree with the teachers? They are here to help us, right?”
NO! They are not! They are not here to help us!
The teachers think this is THEIR school! They think that this school was built for THEM!
This school was Not built for the teachers! This school was built for the students! The teachers should be doing everything in their power to make this school better for us! But instead they try and have us do everything to make this school better for them!
This is what ASB is for! They want us to make this school better for the teachers!
Fellow students, it is time to stand up! Say NO to ASB! Say NO to teachers who want to control and destroy our minds!
Do not vote today! Do not vote for president, vice president, secretary treasurer! If you vote at all you are voting for your own death and destruction!
It doesn’t matter if you think a person is a good candidate, a close friend; if they are running for ASB then they are your enemy!
So to my fellow students, Do not vote, do not let the enemy win today!
To my fellow candidates: if you have seen the light of truth, if you have felt its warmth; then drop out. Do not run anymore, because if you do, you are running against every student.
Again, my name is Pascal Cloutier, and I am NOT running for ASB president.

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98 Comments

  1. Obama Socialism has arrived in the Edmonds Public Schools.
    Next will be a new levy to pay for the law suit.

  2. Mr. Anderson,

    First, if the District decides to following its own policy and procedures and the RCWs, there will be no law suit. Second, my son is trying to create an organization that is representative of the student body — that is called Democracy. Finally, I am proud of my son who stood up for what he believed in. He did his research. How many 15 year olds do you know who have gumption like that!

    Mr. Anderson, you may not agree with what was said however, just because you do not agree with it does not mean you can kill it. You do believe in the First Amendment? If not, perhaps, you should be living in Egypt.

    BRAVO, PASCAL!

  3. Don’t listen to that Anderson guy, he just wants a soapbox where he can chest-thump.

    I applaud Pascal for having the courage of his convictions. But frankly, his message basically boils down to, “teachers have the power, the students don’t, we should have more power.”

    How about we worry less about the distribution of “power” in the school and worry more about getting a good education?

    How about cultivating the required academic discipline to build the foundational skills to one day effectively compete in the global workforce?

    If you’re fighting to advocate for higher academic standards or better text books or something like that, I support him. But Pascal’s speech never mentions anything other than how the skewed power balance, and that just sounds like whining to me.

  4. Ms. Sinha, I am very proud of your son! I ‘liked’ his support page on facebook and will do what I can to grow his cause. Shame on Edmonds school district!!

    Mr. Anderson, I too believe you are looking for a country like the old Egypt not a country fighting for freedoms lost under Bush and great parents raising strong leaders for our future.

  5. I am proud of my son for his actions. Of course, I can nitpick about the wording of his speech, but the intent was clear, and correct. Students want a path to provide input into their school experience, and in their High School years, they are at a point in their development where their input is capable of providing real insights that others may not come up with on their own. Yes, canvassing inputs from students requires oversight, but think of the active, engaged citizens that the school would produce!

    Pascal tried to work within the system first. In addition to the steps discussed in the article above, he also took a small step outside the lines and walked in on a teacher/staff meeting where they were discussing curriculum and how to motivate poor-performing students. Though he was there, he had no formal path to provide input based on his perspective as a student. Decisions were being made regarding his school, and he believed the assumptions behind those decisions were in error, but he couldn’t say anything without being asked. This further deepened his commitment to form a student organization.

    The student government at the school (“ASB”) could have been a mechanism for such discussions, but it’s run more as a pep club than a government. That is fine, a school needs a pep club, but it also needs a group that calls students minds to a higher order of thinking – of proposing solutions for their complaints.

    It would provide a positive outlet for those who complain, “School sucks!”, as the teachers can then reply, “Well, what are you doing about it?”. In the current way of running things, the answer is, “You don’t let me do anything.”

    To start throwing labels around in an attempt to discredit the effort, Mr. Anderson demonstrates his unwillingness to consider the issues at hand. Should High School students be provided a means to discuss issues of relevance regarding the running of their school? If students ask to establish a group to do this, what kind of response do they deserve? And if a student speaks, and causes other students to come out of their stupor to start discussing issues of relevance, does this warrant a suspension? Is it dangerous to good order and discipline to have students shocked out of their apathy? What kind of citizens do we want to create here?

  6. Thoughtful and thought provoking. Pascal is exercising the exact kind of citizenship our schools should be nurturing. It is past time that schools foster student centered learning and leadership. I do not understand why this student is suspended. He is not a dangerous or disruptive, there was no profanity in his speech.

    “They make us play games, they run assemblies meant to distract us, and they do everything in their power to divide the common students and turn us against each other.”

    Good on Pascal, his speech and the reaction of the administration showed he was right.

  7. Go get ‘em, Priya, Todd & Pascal!

  8. What a fiery and courageous young man. Good luck to him and his parents in supporting him.

  9. @Olivia, this is a typical campaign speech. Pascal has a lot of ideas regarding education and bringing unity to the school. Don’t judge him by his speech alone. I am sure he would be more than happy to talk to you about his ideas. Contact either me or Todd, if you would like to speak with Pascal.

  10. Pascal gives me hope that the youth of today are willing to be involved, be active, and think for themselves. Whether you agree with him or not, the fact that he had the courage to stand up for his beliefs, speak eloquently and without malice is a lesson many of us could learn. Bravo, Pascal.

  11. Pascal shows us there is hope for a dying America being suffocated by the forced conformity of the psychotic drones we’ve allowed to determine the correctness of what we think and speak.

    “It is far easier to blindfold a man than to throw a blanket over the universe.” (author unknown)

    Pascal has shown how easy it is to tear off the blindfold, if you have the courage.

  12. @Ms. Yates, thank you for your correction re Egypt. And, thank you for your comments.

  13. Priya and Todd,

    You should be (as it sounds like you are) extremely proud of your son, and his willingness to stand up for what he believes in. He did his homework, understood the ramifications of his actions, and acted on the dictates of his conscience.

    Pascal,

    Congratulations on your speech. I have daughters in 1st and 3rd grade–if they are as willing as you are to act on their beliefs when they are in high school, I’ll feel that I’ve succeeded as a parent.

  14. We should celebrate youth who take risks and stand up for ideals. Way to go Pascal!

  15. Read more: http://myedmondsnews.com/2011/02/e-w-student-suspended-after-he-gives-unapproved-campaign-speech/#ixzz1Da7xtjaN
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

    Pascal shows us there is hope for a dying America being suffocated by the forced conformity of the psychotic drones we’ve allowed to determine the correctness of what we think and speak.

    “It is far easier to blindfold a man than to throw a blanket over the universe.” (author unknown)

    Pascal has shown how easy it is to tear off the blindfold, if you have the courage.

  16. I have a problem with the words ‘death and destruction’ I think failure would have been more appropitate , but who am I I can not even spell right. Anytime that the rules are broken and there is wording like that the school needs to do something. Now I read that the school isn’t letting the kids do what they want in the school. Well they sure do what they want outside the school around that 7 11 and burger king all kinds of kids smoke, you kids have good lungs and young bodies quit smoking and get in shape

  17. As a single father of 3 boys that went through two different school districts I can sympathize with this family for being frustrated. I had countless run-ins with various levels of the schools and their districts. I’ve always felt that the educational system that has been in place here in Washington State, and most the US, for the past 30 years has been there to accomodate the teachers and administration first and foremost. The education of the kids are not the primary concern.

    There are several ways that kids choose to act out when it comes to feeling this frustration . This boy chose to use his voice instead of bringing a weapon to school or causing damage to the school property. For this I applaud him. He knew of the risk of being punished beforehand and he took it. Good Job. I do, however, agree with his father about questioning some of the words he chose… “If you vote at all you are voting for your own death and destruction!” … really?

    Enjoy your first 15 minutes of fame, son… and don’t worry too much about the day and a half suspension. You earned that time off… besides, one of my boys got a 5 day suspension just for bringing his folded up fishing pole in his backpack.

  18. His speech was so blatantly satirical that to take it as an insult, you really needed to have some problems . . . . and of course that is the case. I used to teach. Had I been present for this speech I would have been trying desperately hard not to laugh because underneath the satirical delivery stands so much truth. He actually had the guts to say what everyone already knows about ASB offices. He could have removed a couple of slanderous sentences to leave things more in his favor though. Lessons of an up and coming Marxist revolutionist!

  19. As others have stated I too can critique the wording of Mr. Cloutier’s speech.

    His core message and his feelings of disassociation from the administrative process needed to be brought to light.

    This year we will see large cuts in Education. Students need to continue to speak up. Students have a right to (and should) organize.

    Representation is at the forefront of a true and honest democracy. Students at all schools across this state need to feel that the can have open and honest communication with other students and teachers alike.

  20. “Say NO to teachers who want to control and destroy our minds! If you vote at all, you are voting for your own death and destruction!”
    Really. So which teachers would be the mind- control-and-destroy teachers? Because I’m sure if you could point them out and cite documented examples of how they have tried to control and destroy your mind, parents would be all over it. I’m sure your parents have several letters in to the school board naming these teachers and complaining about the specific damage that has been/is being done to you. No? Didn’t think so.
    Okay, so let’s go on to the “death and destruction” part. Who will be bringing this “death and destruction”? You? Anybody you know? Didn’t think so.
    Alrighty, then, let’s move on to your mom’s response where she indicates this is a “typical campaign speech”. Not buying that one, either. She doesn’t want you to be judged on your speech alone. She indicates you have ideas for education and bringing unity to the school. Nope, that one also fails to pass muster. Why? Because the speech is what YOU put out there about what you think and how you feel. You engendered and “us versus them” scenario. You can’t call teachers mind controlling and mind destroying and then say you have ways of bringing unity to the school. Sounds like any one of several third-world politicians. Do what we want, and things will be cool. Don’t, and bad things will happen.
    I went to Woodway High School. We, too, had students making speeches trying to “shock students out of their apathy”. They, both students and speeches, have long fade from memory. You should be so lucky.
    You didn’t want to be ASB President. That’s a shame. There’s an old saying that applies here: Lead, Follow, or get out of the way.
    Good luck to you.

  21. I go to school with Pascal, and though I’ve been home sick the past few weeks, this event really moved me. So I’ve been doing what I can to help with the cause at home by administrating the Free Pascal page, and though it doesn’t serve ALL that much purpose, it definitely gives you an idea of how many others agree with and support Pascal’s Ideals, as well as a place to share opinion on the subject (positive or negative). I’m really glad to be part of a school where students have the courage to stand up and speak publicly against the school, and suggest alternatives to a system they believe doesn’t function as it is intended to.

    Pascal pwns.

  22. Very impressive. I admire a young man that stands up for what he believes. I find a great deal of honor in the fact that he understood the consequences of his actions and accepted them before making a decision to act. It is just unfortunate that the school can not even follow the rules in reacting. Sure does make it sound like there is a great deal of truth in this young man’s words. Pascal, you are a role model now. I hope my daughter gets to meet you again. I am proud to know you.
    Jerrilynn Hadley, Esq.

  23. Schools like this are a great inspiration for HOME SCHOOLING.

  24. @Ms. Katona, WOW! That’s a lot of hate directed towards a 15 year old “They, both students and speeches, have long faded from memory. You should be so lucky.” I was very interested in your input until I got to that part.

    Regarding the wording of his speech: Pascal may have not chosen the best of words. He is 15. However, the issue here is not whether the wording is perfect but, whether the punishment fir the crime. Before deciding to represent Pascal (as I do any client), I grilled him on what he meant by every word and his thought behind it. He answered everything to my satisfaction. I would not have agreed to represent Pascal in this matter unless I was sure it was a worthy case. As a lawyer, I have certain ethical duties that I cannot breach — even for my son.

    Finally, I hope that if you have children, adults will treat them with more respect then you have shown my son.

  25. I love seeing something that would originally stay within the E-W High School Community grow into something much bigger. Way to get your word out, Pascal!

  26. Priya, Todd & Pascal- good luck and thank you for fighting this suspension to the top! Pascal is not the first child in this district to be disciplined unfairly. This case will be watched closely by many.

  27. What some readers are missing is Pascal’s purposeful “over-the-top” use of sarcastic/satirical wit. He was not suggesting that the teachers are literally creating total destruction of humanity. That was delivery method to make his point. “It is time for us to cast off the shackles of lies and oppression! Comrades, it is time for us to get rid of ASB!” How much more blatant could he get in writing satire within the delivery? He wanted to wake people up to the reality that ASB offices really do not accomplish much more than arranging assemblies under the tutelage of the teachers. We already know that. To take this as insulting is missing the point. Pascal is reflecting the sentiment of a world asleep that may be in the throes of awakening to the possibility that we are machines stuck in a system that has replaced true innovation. The school systems are part of that machine. Another reality that is has been a known given for decades. To attack Pascal for his partially faulty over-the-top method would be like sending Don Rickles to jail for his humor. Taken out of context, some of the sentences were pretty rough. Within context? It was a fifteen-year-old writing copy for Rickles. Suspension? Give me a break.

  28. First, I am very proud of what this young Pascal student did.
    What scares me is that first amendment is being taken away slowly.
    If your saying I don’t love my country, your an idiot.
    America is about the people, we the people, and I’d live no other place.
    You can fault somethings in his speech, but he spoke from his heart.

    Don’t tell me Bush did it. What lame excuse both parties give us (people).

  29. I wish that there had been such progressive thinkers in my high school classes. Pascal’s dissertation here was enough to make me, now 26 and many moons past the days of ASB elections, pause and think. I definitely believe that the “over-the-top” style was intentional, as Mr. Harrison points out, and it works to Pascal’s advantage. I doubt that kids would be able to ignore that kind of talk. Good speeches grab attention; great speeches grab attention, are innovative, and sometimes dare to be controversial.
    From what I’ve read here from Mr. and Mrs. Sinha, Pascal comes from an extremely educated home. More power to the parents here not just for supporting their son’s freedom of speech, but for raising him to be an intelligent and outspoken young man.
    And also, @Priya Sinha, I truly admire your response to Ms. Katona’s attacks. If someone were to publicly post such things about my child, I don’t honestly know if I could exercise the restraint and grace that you displayed in your reply. Unfortunately, Pascal is likely to be the object of scrutiny, even from his elders- but, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “to be great is to be misunderstood.” I think that there are far more of us who believe that Pascal’s efforts were brave rather than maliciously rebellious.

  30. Bravo, Pascal. Very well done.

  31. Has EWHS learned nothing from the Egypt ordeal?…

  32. I too applaud Pacal..knowing both parents in a limited sense, I can tell you they are both intelligent, passionate, caring folks and parents..the main negative that stood out for me was the wording “death and destruction”..while it may have been meant as sarcastic, and ‘over the top” reading it thru print vs. listening in person..one can easily miss the intent..with all of the national school shootings where posts were made prior to the actions, unfortunately or fortunately, i think our school administrations tend to over react on the side of safety not knowing the outcome..we all know this was not Pascals intent but after reading his speech unfortunately for some his message could get lost..I do hope his intended message gets heard and the kids can have an active and positive influence on the campus!

  33. Classic Communist class-warfare. Alinski and Marx would be proud… ‘EVRYWUN HOO R MOAR POWERFULL THEN US R REEL DUM! GET RID UF THEMS BEFORE DEY GET RID OF US!!1!!!!!1!!!!11!!!’

  34. This 15 years old boy is just a puppet for his obsessive mother living through the eyes of her son who claims she is respectable lawyer..”representing” him. Not impressed

  35. Bravo, indeed. Mr. Anderson, history does in fact, repeat itself. I was my “Class President” from 7th grade to graduation, and felt the exact same way that Mr. Cloutier (as Paschal and I are not on a first name basis respect is due) does. During the “election” process of my Junior year, I saw the exact same things that he (Mr. Cloutier) has outlined above and sought change. It does no good to be expected to carry responsibility when you have never trained with the weight of responsibility, yet that is what we ask our young people to do. You see the speech as a blanket outcry for “socialistic tendencies” (really?), when in fact , he has opened an entirely different forum of discussion. Not only has he outlined a problem, but he has also availed himself willingly or not to it’s solution. THAT is a position many ADULTS will not accept. Why not encourage him, especially when has the consultation of his parents to lean upon! I DO know his father; that being said, I have no doubt that guidance is being provided with no misconceptions of grandeur, but rather, purpose. It’s purpose, Mr. Anderson that Mr. Cloutier is outlining. Purpose combined with action equals change. If he wants to begin to carry his weight and guide his fellow students toward more than “give me” in to the land of “what can I do” then ALL of our support is not only helpful, but mandatory. Let him lift the bar and help him hold it up rather than tear him down.

  36. I must say that I admire this young man’s courage for standing up and giving a speech. That would be hard for a lot of kids to stand in front of their peers and do so. But we need to really keep in mind all of the sacrifices that most teachers make for the students. There are countless hours spent on planning, grading, teaching, and mentoring kids. I know there have been many times teachers have emailed me, or met with me after school hours, on their own time. The amount of money teachers are paid is ridiculous considering what they do. I also sincerely hope there will be no “suing” going on. The parents may believe that his freedom of speech rights were impinged upon, but our schools are hurting so badly for money that it would greatly upset me if they needed to pay for lawyer fees and perhaps a settlement for suspending this student.

  37. @ Ms. Brown, Thank you! Best laugh I have had this week. I’m not impressed by myself either!

  38. Fear-filled minds embrace what is seen as a “solid-foundation”, upholding what can be seen. It’s safe. If, in the effort to change, there is not an upheaval of those too afraid to do so, the process has failed. People generally detest change. The anger on both sides of this issue is destructive. Innovation, no matter how course its beginning, should be nurtured and directed to new open doors—guidance to new ways thinking. Reactive punishment to an event creates further reaction instead of action and the process of learning self-destructs. Reactive hatred between those with opposing views seals that coffin.

  39. He wasn’t suspended because of the context of his speech, he was suspended for blatant disregard to the paper he signed before giving the speech stating that what he was going to say would closely follow the written speech he gave the school. It also states that you will be suspended for not complying with these terms. Had the school not suspended Pascal, the administration would be opening the door to more of these incidents that may be more inappropriate than this.

    First off, I really don’t see how “He did his research” as his mom puts it. having been at the school for three semesters and never serving on ASB, (excluding leadership class). Having served on ASB myself, I can tell you that the officers have much say over the assemblies and fundraisers without much interference from the staff.

    Also, in the speech itself where Pascal claims that the ASB does “everything in their power to divide the common students and turn us against each other. They do nothing to help us, they do not stand up for the student body: instead, they do everything in their power to divide and destroy us” is probably one of the most ridiculous and fictitious statements I’ve heard in a while (and i just watched a video of Bill O’Riley explaining the tides) . I can’t even begin to comprehend where this idea spawns from; from my time in ASB there was not a single incident where we looked for ways to turn the students against each other let alone “destroy” them. In fact, one of our main goals for ASB activities was to bring the students together. The problem here is that Pascal must be confused as to their intentions of having competitions between classes, so i’ll do my best to explain it to him now:
    Remember when you were little and were on a sports team, and how you played other teams? I bet you tried harder at games/meets/matches than at practices, right? Well this is because it was a competition, which is what ASB does by having classes compete against each other to raise more money for the school than would be raised if there was no aspect of competition.

    Let’s move on to how the teachers “are not here to help us!” (note the exclamation point, he’s pretty serious now). This is news to me, from my four years at Edmonds-Woodway, I saw acts of teachers helping students, teachers trying to help students, and the occasional students helping teachers, but what i never saw was a case where a teacher was refusing to help at all. Although i’m sure the teachers wouldn’t mind the school being a better place for them, they show up every day to make it a better place for the students.

    -Daniel Thal

  40. @Mr. Thal, actually, that is not what he was suspended for. I’ve seen the disciplinary report. You have not.

  41. There is great wisdom in Pascal’s speech. It took great courage to stand up and deliver it.

    From the comments I’ve read, too many people cannot associate American public schools with “oppression.”

    Schools do not teach. They require their employees to program our youth into obedient knaves that cannot think for themselves. Right or miserably wrong, they are taught to “obey authority” even though they know their “authorities” are either stark raving mad, incompetent or merely obsequious mouth pieces for their corrupt masters.

    The Egyptians are getting it right. They must have taken Clint Eastwood’s line in “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” to heart: “There’s two kinds of people in this world. Those with guns, and those who dig!”

    Pascal is proving there is a third kind: Intelligent, thoughtful and courageous. That used to be an ideal of being an American.

    Pascal reminds us that that ideal is not dead.

  42. I was the creator of the Free Pascal page. It’s insane to see something like this happen to Pascal when all we expect is justice and fairness from the school. It’s not the first time the school has changed its rules (which should not be allowed) to punish a certain person, but it could be the last if the students (and parents) stand up for student rights. Just because we aren’t 18, doesn’t mean we deserve to be treated like prisoners in this “supportive learning environment”.

    The idea of a student union is an awesome one. With it, we may actually get some positive results.

  43. While I admire Pascal for being able to get up and deliver this speech, his message is greatly misinformed. While I recognize that Pascal’s speech was satifical, as a student at Edmonds Woodway who actually appreciates the environment I think it’s important to point out the other view. ASB does not have a lot of power, but honestly, how much power can you expect them to have? There is no way that it would fly to give a bunch of high school kids enough power to override the school or the school district. To have that expectation is truly ridiculous. ASB events like dances and assemblies are not meant to “distract us…divide the common students and turn us against each other.” They are meant, in stark contrast, to unite the student body in a positive way. Come sit through one of our homecoming assemblies; you’ll see the students united as classes in healthy competition, not divided or brainwashed. As an IB senior, I also have some gripe about Pascal’s jibes towards the IB program. If it is truly Pascal’s opinion that IB kids worship their teachers, he has obviously had little exposure to the IB program. The purpose of IB is to teach students to challenge what and how they think; we’re required to take Theory of Knowledge, a metacognitive class that teaches us to question not only what we know, but how we know it (and, I’d like to point out, if you were to find anyone as leftist as this speech is, I would bet my diploma that they are an IB kid).
    I would admire Pascal’s speech if what he cited as evidence were true. While Pascal may feel this way, I am fairly certain that the majority of the school would disagree. I’d like to see how students would react if Pascal succeeded in getting rid of ASB and the activities it provides; maybe then future challengers would come to appreciate ASB and EW as a whole for the environment it provides.

  44. Here is what matters: Pascal looked at a situation, thought it through and presented his analysis in a way that has opened up a lot of discussion. Don’t we say “think” to our kids every day. Rote learning and obedience is easy (also often boring and frustrating). Thinking through a position and risking punishment by standing up and articulating it — not so much.

    Has anyone read “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift? A bit over the top, and my first hero when I read this at about Pascal’s age. Faced with the Irish potato famine, not because of a lack of food but because of the exportation of food, he proposed fattening up Irish babies to feed the Irish people. Obviously it wasn’t to be taken literally. It was to get people to think. And this sarcastic, over-the-top political commentary turned the tide, embarrassed the British government into changing policies that were causing mass starvation.

    Pascal isn’t dealing with the Irish potato famine or its equivalent, but that isn’t the point — he’s 15 and in high school. Nor is the point whether anyone agrees with Pascal or favors his choice of language. Did he get people to think? It appears the answer is a clear “yes,” and apparently with a fair amount of enthusiasm. Kids cheering disrupts school? Really? That would end all pep rallies… Now, if the adults involved want to turn this into something constructive (imagine doing that in an educational setting), there will be a school community dialog and some soul searching. Perhaps a starting point could be discussions of all the people who have watched grievous wrongs and said nothing. Think of the holocaust, gay bashing, slavery and its legacy, treatment of Native American, genocide in Armenia and Cambodia, internment of persons of Japanese origin during WWII, and on — you see my point. When should one speak up — that could be an interesting discussion provoking a lot of thinking (and you can imagine how much history could be taught and learned in the process).

    With a little effort, the situation at school has the potential to improve. But if nothing happens other than some thought and discussion, hurray for the speech. Schools should be a marketplace of ideas, places to test theories, a place to ponder how to get attention for issues and trying various approaches. Now adults, school administrators and teachers, and you students have a role too, think about how to foster constructive discussion to make things better.

  45. “@Mr. Thal, actually, that is not what he was suspended for. I’ve seen the disciplinary report. You have not.”

    I’m sorry for the assumption, now that you know what they look like, try and see all the assumptions Pascal made in his speech.

    -Daniel Thal

  46. So Prima since half the town is commenting about this , what did he get sent home for., Just wondering, hope I don’t get a nunya

  47. I respect his bravery in speaking up like this. BUT…why all the animosity towards the underpaid teachers? They’re not the ones who make up the rules! And what exactly have the teachers done to incur his wrath? What happened to make him feel so oppressed? Nothing specific is mentioned, rather his whole message seems to be”teachers bad, students good.” Sounds to me to be a bunch of misdirected, teenage angst directed towards those who don’t deserve it (the teachers).

  48. @Mike

    “Shortly after he gave the speech, he was pulled out of class to meet with school administrators, who told him that he was being suspended because his speech “presented a major problem to the school learning environment.”

  49. Ya well its getting some major ink in my edmonds news,

  50. @Daniel Thal:
    It’s too bad that graduating suddenly means nothing wrong or unfair was done to you by the school district. Even if you didn’t get an uncalled for detention or suspension, I’m sure you have seen it happen to old friends.

    Can you really not see it, or are you too “mature” for empathy?

  51. I have been involved in leadership at EWHS for 2 years now and i have to disagree with a large portion of what Pascal said. Our administration tries to include students in many of their decisions at our school, both in and out of ASB. I myself was on a committee last year where a group of 7 students worked with administration researching schedules for Woodway that would benefit the students! We also have steering committees where staff and students work together on school issues.
    Though during assemblies the classes sit in different sections of the bleachers i wouldn’t call this separating us because i can promise you that every student wouldn’t be able to name all of the kids they were sitting with. i would also disagree with the comment stating that Pascal has done his research. i was at a leadership training day with him the week before he gave the speech where our focus was uniting students and decreasing bullying. During this time he stood up and presented his complaint with separation among student and we all welcomed all of the ideas that he had with excitement.
    i know many teachers that were very hurt by many of the comments that Pascal made, especially one of my teachers that had been staying at school till 5:30 every day writing letters of recommendations for students and helping them with college entrance essays (how very selfish of her). She is just one of many teachers i have had the pleasure of meeting who adores her job, not because it is centered around her but her students.
    I think there could have been a smarted way to present the idea of a student union to the student and body. And to be honest nothing in his speech was about his idea for a student union. Why not focus more on the idea of a union than on death and destruction.
    Also a correction Pascal was not his class president.

  52. @Brad Holden
    This is true, it’s not always the teachers. But some give unfair detentions. Maybe not suspensions, but detentions. If you are disliked by them, you are pretty much promised a detention every two weeks, if not more often. You should be able to say “why am I getting this detention?” and get an honest response. This is how it should be though it isn’t.

    @Sage
    Yes, you are in leadership. It just seems like all the average (if my friends or me could be called this) students don’t really see much going on. The most I’ve seen this year is posters, spirit weeks, and assemblies. I know you organize donation campaigns and such as I have donated to quite a few. Despite this, most people I’ve talked to agree: Not much is seems to happen. Maybe the friends of ASB/leadership people see it, but not the general student body.

    It seems like elected candidates are chosen based on popularity, not ability to actually change the way things are run, or continue to run things the way they are if they see it as right.

    Teachers were offended, yes. Students were also offended. Who isn’t offended by things these days? Grow a thicker skin, so to speak. No specifics were made. I’m not saying it was the most effective way to go about things, but he tried to go through the school hierarchy and was ignored. What would you have done? Continued to wait forever, or done something to get your point across?

  53. @Kailey
    Though i see you point, we have opened up ASB and leadership for everyone. If anyone has an idea they can come to talk to anyone and we will present it to the officers. For example i have a friend who’s mother works at a school on a very poor reservation. Her mother called me and asked if we could bring people to the school for a day to work with the children.
    We invite all students to partake in leadership activities, like Freezin for a Reason our 24 hour food drive. I personally would say that what we need to do is have students for every social group help with activities to broaden our appeal. But that is in the hands of those that aren’t in leadership because we have already put out our invitation.
    And what i was saying was their is a way to word things where they so they can be absorbed easier. Get your point across by focusing on what you want to do to fix the issue, not how and why it’s broken.

  54. I think everyone needs to give Pascal a round of applause.

  55. @Priya Singha

    You remind me of the teenage shoplifter who steals from a retail chain, believing that they are “sticking it ti the man”. They are of course, sticking it to the lowest paid employee, who will have to take that loss from their own paycheck; food from their own family’s mouths. By pursuing this as a legal case, who do you think you’re hurting? The school-board? The Principle?

    No, you will be hurting the lowest paid level of the school’s employees, teachers, para-educators, and other aids. Maybe it doesn’t look like it from up there on your every tower, but the ones who will pay the hardest will be the students, like your son, who will receive an inferior education due to budget cuts (read: teachers laid off) caused both directly and indirectly by frivolous lawsuits such as these. Enjoy your “justice”, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy your money too. By the way, just what is a day and a half suspension worth to a lawyer these days? I’m sure you’d be happy to disclose the amount you’re asking for, if you really believe that it’s justified, and I’ll be happy to tell you how many first-year teachers’ jobs that much is worth, too.

  56. As a senior at Edmonds-Woodway, I’ve been happy spending a large part of the last three and a half years of my life there. I don’t have too much to complain about, and I have a lot to be grateful for. Sure, I wish the administration wasn’t so patronizing, but I like my teachers, the students at the school, and the education I’m getting. It’s for this reason that I was taken aback by Pascal’s accusations of the teachers at Edmonds-Woodway. I think the strongest argument that the teachers don’t want to “control and destroy our minds” is that my English teacher prompted a discussion immediately after the school watched the speech. She never told us we were wrong for our opinions, and she encouraged a variety of viewpoints. Among other things, we debated if Pascal should receive discipline from the school. However, the suspension that followed Pascal’s speech, the resulting legal action, and the discussion of the necessity of either of these is, in my opinion, irrelevant.

    Everyone commenting on this news article seems to have missed the most important thing: whether or not any legitimate change comes about because of Pascal’s speech and the discussion it has inspired. I’m glad that Pascal made his speech simply because it got people questioning and talking about ASB, the administration, teachers, and the system of representation (or lack thereof, depending on your view), which is more than anyone has done while I’ve been at EW. I’m glad to see that students, parents, teachers, and community members feel extremely passionate about this, whatever their opinions are. At least for the time being, there’s a decrease in the apathy often associated with my generation.

    Nevertheless, discussing his speech here, on Facebook, in classrooms, with other students, etc. does not equate to change. Pascal has a lot of admirable goals, and I certainly agree that a more representative student body is needed. But he did not state, as far as I could tell, any methods for achieving his goals. Lot’s of people have great ideas, and Pascal is one of them, but acting on them is considerably more difficult. In the long run, I don’t think people will remember Pascal for getting suspended. What they will remember is whether he changed the way student government and student representation functions, or just made a speech that prompted people to talk about “ASB,” “socialism,” and “hope for a dying America.”

  57. As a former teacher at EW I disagree with much of what Pascal said, especially with this paragraph:
    “NO! They are not! They are not here to help us!
    The teachers think this is THEIR school! They think that this school was built for THEM!
    This school was Not built for the teachers! This school was built for the students! The teachers should be doing everything in their power to make this school better for us! But instead they try and have us do everything to make this school better for them!”
    As others mentioned, there are a lot of dedicated teachers at EW who work much more than their contracted hours to provide extra help to students, plan lessons, and are involved as club advisors and coaches.
    I actually feel sorry for Pascal if he really believes what he said. If he really thinks teachers are the enemy then it might be better for his parents to take him out of EW and homeschool him. Education can’t be forced on someone, it reqires a willingness to learn. But who wants to learn anything from anything “the enemy”?

    I do agree that the ASB doesn’t have much say at EW (and likely at most other schools). Students can provide limited input, but the principal / administration (not the teachers) usually have the final say. How much and on what issues students should have a say is a legitimate debate.

    Even though I disagree with much of what Pascal said, I think suspending him was neither justified nor smart. It obviously backfired as his speech is now discussed by the entire community, not just among current students and teachers.

    On a different note, I hope teachers will not treat Pascal differently in the future because of his speech, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some teachers refuse to “go above and beyond” for him.

  58. @Grey Larson You accomplish change if you don’t have the attention of anyone. Seeing as you are a senior, you may have noticed how everyone usually don’t care about the elections, and it’s usually friends voting for friends, and not based on what they promise to do. This was basically a wake-up call to students. If you ask any student, you will almost always here “School sucks” or “School is boring”. The question is, should it suck, or should it be boring? The only way to change that, is to give students more power, more say. ASB might as well be another key club. I’m your average student. I don’t see any progress, and I’m sure most average students don’t. I can definitely tell you, ever since I joined in on this initiative, I’ve been looking forward to going to school everyday. Again, I am just an average student.

  59. I’m going to give everybody something to think about, this is a nice little town but the people who live here, have this dog eat dog mentality and are wrecking it I use to live in the wood river valley everybody was happy just to be there, it was great and its still that way, my old skiing buddy lost his dog in a hunting accident everybody came and helped even the sun valley search and rescue, the result was not best the but everybody stopped and helped out.It would be nice if that would happen here he even wrote an article in the mountain express and thanked everybody, a class act. With all the fighting in the adult community of edmonds I can see why the kid did what he did. Did the kid deserve to be punished maybe does this thing need a law suit , for a day and a half out of school I would have gone skiing. don’t think so

  60. I belong to Union and am most disturbed with the fact that Pascal tried to organize a student union giving voice to students at School Board meeting or with the administration, for example. He was shut down. He had to resort to the ASB to use as a platform to get students and teachers thinking about his ideas. He was suspended. Not only was his first amendment rights shut down but his ability to create a unified voice among the students was also denied.

  61. The ability to share ideas (however repulsive they may be) is central to our democracy. I think what Mr. Cloutier did was brave and fully within his rights. I do not know what harm one speech could have caused to deserve a suspension. Instead of a suspension, his speech should be used as a learning moment for every student – and celebrated as Free Speech.

  62. I have met Pascal Cloutier on two occasions and both times was delighted by his vibrant enthusiasm and insight. My husband, an educator, and I both support Pascal in his recent actions. We note that (in similar circumstances) the children of other friends, whose school administrators pit themselves against students in like scenarios, find themselves – and not the students – in the wrong. I suspect that the Edmonds Woodway High School administrators will end up with egg on their faces for this OVER-reaction.

  63. Does anyone find it odd that everyone who has been in ASB completely disagrees with Pascals speech? I honestly cant believe that the people of the community are actually condoning his actions. Do you think it would be okay to go into your workplace and announce in front of everyone that you think your boss is a complete moron and that their job is completely ineffective? I think not. For the most part, the kids at school that are capable of reasoning do not agree with Pascal. If he wanted to get his point across, there is many more ways he could have gone about it without disregarding the rules set out for him.

    If Pascal doesn’t like our school, then go to a different one. Quite frankly, I didn’t even know who he was till a few days ago, and I don’t think he is benefiting our school in any way. If he doesn’t want to attend another school then maybe his vicarious mother, who is clearly pushing herself upon him, should home school him, since she seems to have the same outlook as him.

    I am a Senior at EWHS and i personally have never had a problem with the school. If he wants a district a little more to his liking, maybe he should move to a communist country, considering after a look at his face book he seems to adore their leaders. Feel free to criticize the statement i have just made, because unlike Pascal, I have evidence.

  64. @Uli Steidl . Well stated. I admire your ability to see both sides and remain centered, thinking clearly. All that long distance running must have created the balanced mind of inner strength! :)

  65. I do believe that the punishment was undeserving of the crime. Yet, I could understand why the administration would not want Pascal in school, for he as it is obvious from the public’s reaction, would be a distraction to both the students and teachers learning and teaching. First and for most, EWHS is a school. I do agree with the main point of his speech (that students opinions need to have a concrete backing), however they were overshadowed by his generalizations and overzealous language. All though his word choice is what helped him get his 15 minutes it came at a great cost. He insulted and offended teachers who have no ruling in the ASB and agree with the students. The truly great teachers teach to instill power within their students and would take this speech at the upmost offence. Admit tingly I am a bit bitter about his underestimation of ‘IB Students’. However, personal issues aside, although he got a great reaction, I doubt any true change will come from this. There is truth to power in numbers, but the numbers don’t do the changing, the administration does and I am pretty sure he is not currently in their good graces. To them this is just a demonstration of what will happen if the students are given power. I am not saying this change will never happen, it will just take time. I would be interested in knowing if in the two weeks Pascal waited to hear back from the principal if he followed up with him to see if the ball had started rolling.

  66. Suspended for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly to seek redress from grievances with the government? So the administration’s “lesson” to Mr. Cloutier and the other students is that they have the right to trample the Constitution of the U.S. of A. We need more students willing to take a stand – just like the founding fathers did.

  67. @Erin, Let’s break down your argument.

    (1) “Does anyone find it odd that everyone who has been in ASB completely disagrees with Pascals speech? ”

    Do you find it odd, for example, that everyone is protesting against Mobarak, except the Mobarak? Do you see the relationship?

    (2) “If Pascal doesn’t like our school, then go to a different one”

    If you criticize this country, you need to leave. Yep. Another false argument.

    (3) “I am a Senior at EWHS and i personally have never had a problem with the school.”

    Just because you have never have a problem doesn’t mean that others have. The world does not revolve around you.

  68. @Dave Smith: While we’re talking about false arguments, how about we take a look at your gem of a slippery slope argument? This is a school, not Mobarak.

  69. Fantastic. I just hope he has the strength to resist three years of corrective action by the District.

    By the way, does anyone really understand what the District does with ASB money and where so much of it ends up? Co-mingling and outright theft. Ask around but be sure to ask the right people.

  70. @Marissa, exactly. When does oppression stop.

  71. Typical idealistic teenager looking for attention by using outrageous statements.

  72. ^^^ Typical Ray Martin looking for attention by using outrageous statements.

  73. Some things never change its pretty amazing how 99.9% of the comments do not meet rays approval

  74. I wonder if Pascal would disagree with Ray’s assessment. I don’t think he’s “typical”, but the rest of it sounds like a compliment to me. He certainly succeeded in getting our attention, and much good has come of that.

  75. If you think the High School is bad just check out the Edmonds Police Department.

  76. Well said Pascal. Replace “teachers” with “principal, administrators, school board” and you have nailed it on the head. Good luck. Never give up.

  77. This just in: thanks to Pascal’s speech, new administrative rules have been put in place at EW that forbids teachers from-
    1. making students play games
    2. running assemblies meant to distract students
    3. doing everything in their power to divide the common students and turn them against each other

    Job well done, Pascal!

  78. No intent on my part to put down the lad, nor praise him. Most observers admire his “chutzpah” including myself. Contrarily, his switching the approved speech for the unapproved one is not admirable. I believe most would agree one should follow the rules of the game or work to change the rules in a more appropriate manner.

  79. I would personally save my ammunition for College ASB; Highschool is a joke, those who wish to pursue education go to college, those who don’t, don’t.

    ASB is an illusion no doubt, the president of ASB is the president of the poster club and assemblies with poor sound quality, along with being the head chairman of the people who get to complain to the school board and administration and be immediately rejected .

    He was suspended for disrupting class, not for spreading anti-establishment propaganda; those of you complaining about how much of a terrible kid he is and how awful his parents must be are out of luck, the powers that be have no legal leverage for your opinions.

  80. Ohhhh Brad. You are so hilarious. Really. You are truly a witty man.

    Thanks to the unchecked school district, kids are now being:
    Suspended instead of disqualified
    Given detentions without reason

    See? I can make lists just like you. I feel 10x more witty. And about 100x more sarcastic.

  81. I also go to school with Pascal. He is an exceptionally open minded student, and a great leader.
    I think he made an admirable move by standing out for what he believes. He just wanted us to re-assess the powers of the ASB, and it brings many thoughts to mind. Although I may not completely agree with the whole teacher-student part, I think his intentions were good, and simply a move to make the student body think. He does bring several points: what is the purpose of the ASB? What do we expect of them?
    I too have been moved by this. It makes great conversation, and puts our mind to work. Thank you and great job, Pascal!

  82. Ray Hope I wasn’t too hard on you if so sorry, I agree with your last comment 100%. I read that speech over again he did complain a lot, Complaining never did me any good, now a good idea without complaining thats done me some good,

  83. Before I launch into this, I should make it clear that I graduated from EWHS, and, with one notable exception, had nothing but excellent teachers. I don’t agree with Pascal’s criticism of them, but I am whole-heartedly behind his goal.

    @ Ms. Latona: Through your use of the expression “lead, follow, or get out of the way” you have clearly demonstrated your own closed-mindedness. Pascal is leading. The fact that he is not doing so within the bounds of the established order only amplifies his accomplishment. By your reasoning, the American colonists shouldn’t have rebelled, they should have ran for Parliament. Sure, his language was extreme, as it should have been. He was trying to rally the students, and his wild success to that end means his goal was met. Do not try to use this opening act to judge the veracity of the whole performance, you and I both know the fallacy that would lie in this line of thought. I wish you all could look past the words of the speech and pass judgement on the quality of the action.

    @ Erin Stewart: “Most of the students who are capable of reasoning disagree with Pascal”. Appeal to popularity. Attempting to debase Pascal’s arguments based upon a “look at his facebook page”: Poisoning the well. Learn to reason without fallacy before you stride so forthrightly into intelligent conversation. And no, to be frank, I don’t find it odd ASB disagrees with Pascal. People in positions of imagined power like to do just that; imagine power. Perhaps understanding the implications of the broader issues at hand here will help you understand why it is so many in the community are rallying to his cause.

    @ Ray Martin; Typical jaded old man who has no fire left in his soul and sold his spirit to the system long ago. Enjoy your slow, monotonous march towards death. Some of us have chosen not to bend over and shut our eyes.

    @ Daniel Thal: Good to see some fighting spirit from the ASB.

    Read more: http://myedmondsnews.com/2011/02/e-w-student-suspended-after-he-gives-unapproved-campaign-speech/#ixzz1DnJGYGS0
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

    “Having served on ASB myself, I can tell you that the officers have much say over the assemblies and fundraisers without much interference from the staff.”

    This is completely irrelevant: I’m afraid you’ve missed the whole point of Pascal’s argument. Sure, assemblies are great, fundraisers do good stuff, but, in terms of who’s holding the keys to the pivotal decisions regarding our education, it definitely isn’t the ASB. This is the problem. Not assemblies or fundraisers. The fact that the best counter-argument a long-time member of ASB can muster is citing their authority over assemblies exemplifies the heart of this issue.

  84. Dominic I think your being a little hard on Ray, i hate to say it but I kind get a kick out of the stuff he writes in here, he apologize give him a break, he does a lot of good stuff in the community and he is a vereran thank you

  85. I think, on the whole, this debate is becoming too much about Pascal and the particulars of his speech. We know his speech was ridiculous and over the top. He was just trying to get people to pay attention (which is quite a feat, given the common practices regarding announcements). If we can move beyond such petty little things we might be able to see that there is something truly wrong with our education system.

    Pascal is more of a symptom of the problems than he is a means of resolving them. If you will notice, nowhere in his speech did he mention a solution. He is just angry and wants something to change. This, in combination with the significant amount of support he has in the student body, demonstrates the key problem that faces our schools. There is no student representation. After all, schools are here as a service for students, so it only makes sense that the students themselves should have some say over what shape that service takes. No one else could presume to know better what is necessary than those who are directly affected.

    Thus, it is necessary that the student voice be heard by school and district administration; there needs to be some sort of representative body to speak for those most directly impacted by the decisions of the administrators. This will allow student needs to be heard and addressed. Additionally, it will help engage students in their education rather than pushing them through a series of seemingly arbitrary hoops, thereby alleviating the resentment toward teachers so excellently exemplified by Pascal.

    In short, it will lead to a better education and a better future.

  86. mike, you’re right. I was quick to judge. I just strongly dislike it when people disregard an argument simply due to the age of its presenter. But Ray, my apologies.

  87. Dominic,

    1. Apology accepted, though unnecesary.
    2. You are entitled to your opinion.
    3. Also, I believe age is a non factor.

  88. I go to Woodway and know Pascal fairly well, I admire him for giving that speech and having the courage to stand up for what he believes in no matter how disgraceful it was to some people. I also don’t agree with them suspending him, that was too extreme, but he did lie and theres no denying that.
    Pascal is a funny guy and had a grin on his face for most of the time he gave the speech, so was it supposed to be a joke? ASB isn’t supposed to have any “power”, they make posters and hope it will help them get into college. School exists to drill the fundamentals of self discipline and work into the youth so they can become useful members of society. If students had the power to decide anything related to their education besides what classes they want, everything would be a mess. These rebellious kids just need to deal with what little things they don’t like, I don’t think they know how lucky they are to have this free education. I’ve been to schools in countries where they use tires as seats and fit 100 children into a filthy half sheltered room. They don’t complain, and deserve the education that i have.
    We should be thankful for what we have and not complain about what we don’t. If you get too many detentions, its probably because your pissing off the teacher, deal with it and find a way to change that, theres always a way. I think you adults are falsely interpreting this speech and making it out to be more of a big deal than it really is. School isn’t my most favored activity, but I don’t see anything wrong with my teachers or the administration. We cant whine about little crap like detentions or when the refreshment machines are available, who cares. Successful people can coop with their environment and tackle the problems the best they can. When I saw Pascals awesome speech, i laughed loudly, it made my day and amused me, thats it.

  89. Priya,

    Your son gave up his first amendment rights when he chose to participate (and abide by the rules) in a school sanctioned forum. He is free to state his opinion, but he is obligated to follow the rules in an optional school event.

    I am not an expert on school suspension policies, but the punishment seems very reasonable to me. Please, please do not drag this issue into litigation – you will be wasting the school district’s (and taxpayers’) money.

    Your son brings up some legitimate points about EWHS ASB. I hope you continue to discuss these issues in the proper forums.

  90. In reading through Pascal Cloutier’s Speech and seeing the decision that was made to suspend Pascal I agree with Mr McCleary in the comment above. Pascal agreed to give one speech and then went against his word. If as the article above says Pascal viewed this as an “act of civil disobedience” then he should also accept the responsibility for the consequences that come with Civil Disobedience.
    I do hope that Mr and Mrs Cloutier do not move toward litigation and encourage their son to accept the consequences of his “Civil Disobedience”.
    Being Suspended is appropriate action for his actions and I wholly support Edmonds-Woodway Administration in their decision.

  91. @Mr. Anderson;
    I agree that, if you cross the line, you deserve the appropriate punishment. The analogy, though shaky, is this:
    – Have you ever exceeded the posted speed limit intentionally? Even by 1 mph? I daresay we all have, and it is a calculated risk. You have confidence that, should you be stopped, the penalty would be a small monetary one.
    – Let’s say you “crossed this line” by going 5 mph over the posted speed limit, but when you were caught, the officer decided that you deserved something else. Say, a suspension of your driving privliges, with no explanation as to why you were singled out for such special treatment.

    The suspension was not in keeping with District policy. The boy’s act was performed under the assumption that the penalty would be disqualification from the election, not a permanent mark on his disciplinary record, as that is the written policy. The punishment is disproportionate to the offense, and was meted out inappropriately.
    Nobody wants a lawsuit! We want the suspension expunged from his record, and we want the District to help EWHS perform discipline in accordance with policy. Litigation only occurs if the District fails to follow through on their procedures, so it is completely up to them.

  92. I doubt Pascal agreed to give up his 1st amendment rights when he choose to participate in the school forum. That’s what’s so great about this country, we do have free speech. Don’t we? Advocating for what we believe in is how laws get changed, how we stand up to oppression, and fight for what we believe in. For Pascal…this is what he believed in, and the punishment does not fit the crime.
    Todd, Priya, and Pascal….I completely support you.

  93. dear god you guys are seriously litigating this? what a waste of time and effort. this will accomplish nothing, and it will only waste money. This is starting to look more and more like an attention grab, or a vendetta, to me.

  94. @Dominic: nobody’s litigating. Litigating is when you sue in court. What we did do was ask for the District’s policy for how to appeal the suspension, in order for the District itself to review whether the suspension was appropriate per District policy. Now, if the District fails to follow its own rules, then we’ll see what other options that leaves us.
    Point is, a suspension is a serious mark on one’s record: it was not warranted by District policy, and was not issued per District policy. So, it should not be on the record. Period. The school administration must be held to the District’s rules, just as the students must. And that means meting out discipline in a measured and consistent manner, and in accordance with the approved guidelines.
    The District has a dismal record for discipline consistency at the school level, and an even worse record for the District itself correcting the school administrations’ errors. We’d not be doing anyone any favors by letting “just one more” error slip by.

  95. Litigation is not always about winning. In the highly-questionable world of lawyers and judges, the effective use of legal channels does not always require the arrival at a destination.

    Unfortunately, so many school officials ignore the complaints of others until they are written down and signed by lawyers.

    Also effective is the deliberate daylighting of terrible decisions. When the public is plugged in, results can happen. Case in point: Maria Goodloe-Johnson. The residents of Seattle know what accountability is and they are not afraid to ask real questions. Nearly $2 million vanished on her watch and she is shown the door.

    The residents of the Edmonds School District have had so much more wasted and there is zero accountability. Bumpkins.

  96. You don’t want a permanent spot on his record? Google his name. The suspension may be lifted in time, but this article will still be read by anyone you think might be interested in Pascal’s “record.”

    Furthermore, a suspension for something trivial (and let’s not kid ourselves, your son’s speech was trivial at best) would have gone totally unnoticed. Here’s a question: What % of students at Edmonds have ever been suspended? I’d venture the number is higher than most readers imagine. After all, they suspend kids for a day for not doing detention.

  97. ITodd I know this is non of my business but does this thing have any effect of the chances of your kid getting a scolarship in college if so then I understand why everybody is making a big deal about this. On another note my old high school Blanchet back when I went there it was less than $500.00 a year there are kids that go there that belong to the club in town now the tutition is ten thousand dollars a year a kid. Thats unbelievable and there is a lot of parents who send there kids there. but what I hear if you go there you have a good chance for a full boat scolarship in college how do parents afford this stuff, anyways its good conversation

  98. So- what was the outcome of all this? I can’t find it anywhere. Can someone enlighten me? Thanks.

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