Layton: Milford school proposal ‘downright Orwellian’


I am following up on an article on baytobaynews.com/Daily State News, posted June 14 and titled “ACLU of Delaware urges Milford School Board to abandon policy that threatens free speech.”

Most people who talk about George Orwell’s “1984” haven’t read it or haven’t read it closely since high school. I have. I taught it to high school students for several years.

In this novel, believing things the bad guys (Ingsoc) disliked counted as crimes against the state. Ingsoc called these beliefs “thoughtcrime” and tortured people for having these supposedly dangerous ideas as a way of controlling the population.

I don’t expect the Milford School District to send any would-be Winstons to the equivalent of Room 101, but its school board’s proposed revision of Board Policy 6103 has me thinking of “1984.”

Consider this: The proposed revision to the policy would ban the expression of “personal beliefs” about “controversial” issues, whether or not those beliefs are expressed “explicitly.”

In other words, a mere guess that a student or teacher is thinking something not approved by the board or the administration could result in a figurative rat-filled cage locked onto his or her head.

That would be punishing someone for thinking — in a school.

It would harm students, teachers and the entire project of public education, and violate the First Amendment.

It’s downright Orwellian.

If you oppose dystopian policy in Delaware schools, email the school board members. Then, show up at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Milford High School to voice your “controversial” thoughts.

Greg Layton

Willow Grove

Reader reactions, pro or con, are welcomed at civiltalk@iniusa.org.

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