What on Earth Are We Fighting for? (The Truth About DRHS and the Border Patrol Shirts)


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Recent controversy at Dakota Ridge High School has left me wondering: What the hell are we doing?

For those unfamiliar with the situation, Bryce Benson attended a DRHS football game wearing a shirt with ‘BORDER PATROL’ spelled across the front in huge yellow letters.

Before the game, the administration at Dakota confronted Bryce and his friend about and expressed their concern about the message the shirts would send.  They did not, however, prevent Bryce from attending the game or boarding the fan bus.

Bryce’s friend, however, was forbidden from boarding the fan bus for supposedly threatening a male cheerleader. Bryce’s mother arrived shortly thereafter, demanding that Bryce and his friends be allowed on the bus.

Bryce and his mother have since been on the news and radio, demonizing the administration and the school as a whole – aided by none other than Tom Tancredo.

According to Bryce, the t-shirt was the sole reason for the fiasco, including his suspension from school.

The whole story, however, is a bit different. Administration has said repeatedly that the shirt had nothing to do with his suspension and that his defiance, disrespect, and the level of disturbance he  caused was what prompted the disciplinary action.

The day after the football game, select teachers at the school made it even worse by wearing their ‘Day Without Hate’ shirts – which, in the minds of many, solidified the connection between Bryce’s shirt and his suspension.

Dakota Ridge has been under fire from many, and misinformation is as plentiful as it is damaging.
But this isn’t about Bryce anymore.

It’s a political battle, and it has nothing to do with Bryce or his first amendment rights.

As far as freedom of expression is concerned, Bryce isn’t the only one who got himself into trouble with words and symbols.

Stefen Gonzales, another senior, earned himself a suspension by having a photoshoot with students holding what appeared to be molotov cocktails and signs that said ‘Fuck America’ and ‘Fuck the System’.

Bryce wasn’t suspended for expressing ideas on school grounds.  Stefen was. The treatment of students is certainly equal – no matter what message you’re sending.

Bryce himself, along with many others in the school, was offended by Stefen’s work.
“Why would you say ‘Fuck America’ when you’re IN America?” One student said.

The whole situation is cripplingly ironic.

The beauty of America lies in the fact that we CAN say ‘Fuck America’ – that we CAN work for change.

But, on the other hand, if we spend all our energy obsessing over t-shirts and symbols, we’ll forget the bigger picture.  If we continue to be more offended when someone says ‘Fuck America’ than when someone says ‘Fuck You’, we’ll never get anywhere.

We’ve forgotten what it means to be unified. We’ve stopped seeing our fellow citizens as allies. We’re so caught up in what it means to be a ‘Democrat’ or a ‘Republican’, we’ve completely forgotten what it means to be an ‘American’.

Personally, I don’t give a shit what your political or religious beliefs are. I don’t give a shit about what country you’re from, or about the color of your skin. I don’t give a shit who you are or aren’t attracted to. What I care about is what you’re willing to do – for yourself, for your country, and for the world.

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~ by ZAdoubleQ on October 12, 2011.

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