Student-Run Club Is Questioned
October 2, 2007, 8:12 PM
A new group at Roosevelt High School discusses socialism every Thursday morning. Not everyone is comfortable with the Young Socialist Club's views, but federal law says school districts must allow all student organizations.
The Young Socialists Club at Roosevelt High School is looking for new members. Their flyer asks for students to quote "Come explore the vast realm that is socialism." But also on the flyer is a picture of Karl Marx, who is best known as a revolutionary communist. One of his famous quotes, "Workers of the World Unite," is printed boldly on the handout. But Roosevelt Principal Don Ryswyk says those references do not concern him.
He says, “At Roosevelt we have young Democrats club, we have the young Republicans club and they were asking for a young Socialists club and so I saw it as an equity issue and the students talked to me about some of the things they were going to research and I also saw it as an educational club.”
Under the Equal Access Act passed in 1984, no school administrator can pass judgment on school clubs.
Linda Hallstrom with the Sioux Falls school district says, “Basically what that act says is that school students have a right to form clubs and that we as a district or at the school building level cannot discriminate based on view point of those clubs.”
That's why Ryswyk approved the new group. He says there are several student run clubs at Roosevelt, which allows teenagers with different interests to get involved.
“We love to see kids involved in clubs because they get involved in school, they make friends, and we know that kids when they get involved in school they make better students,” he says.
But he says if a club harms students, or is based on hate, it will not be accepted.
Ryswyk says, “I'm not going to allow a club into my school that's gonna be harmful or hateful or anything like that and there needs to be some good.”
A member of the Socialists group says they will discuss all forms of socialism which includes communism, but they are *not a communist group. Student run clubs are appointed a monitor and Ryswyk says the socialist's club monitor has *not had any concerns.
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