The chilling effect these guidelines will have on student interest in politics is severe. Knowing that they might end up on the wrong list simply because of their statements or beliefs, students will be discouraged from voicing them, much less acting on them. After all, would you talk about your political or ideological affiliations in school if it got you branded a terrorist?
“To envision such behaviors — in their own right — as indicative of the potential to conduct a violent attack, speaks to a problematic lack of understanding of people’s common gripes by their government. In the increasingly paranoid atmosphere of this country, fueled by Trump’s demagoguery and Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness, such broad generalizing is downright dangerous.
In fact, it is precisely this paranoia which led to the in-school arrest of Ahmed Mohamed — a 14-year old student genius whose hand-crafted clock was assumed to be a bomb. Despite his insistence the creation was never meant to be anything but a clock, he was charged with misrepresenting it as a bomb.
Sometimes a clock is just a clock, Freud might say, and therein lies the issue with the FBI’s program. As long as the United States government continues to almost indiscriminately bomb populations in the Middle East and elsewhere, those opposed to such programs will protest in earnest. This does not mean those protestations will somehow culminate in the exact sort of violence the participants stand against. The turbulence of adolescence is, indeed, a time when many students seek understanding of and from the world around them, as the FBI repeatedly notes. Adolescence is often the time of discovery, and of the revelation that what has been taught in school is anything but the entire picture — if not wholly inaccurate.
What the FBI seems to be forgetting in its return to a McCarthyistic, If You See Something Say Something crackdown on dissent, is that very criticism by the youth drives future change in policy. And if the angst of youth is given proper outlet and voice, instead of ending in violence, it might just end the continued worldwide violent attacks by the government.”
Source: Free Thought Project