Today is an excellent time to reflect on the amazing and truly unprecedented level of freedom that our citizens enjoy. In his excellent course A History of Freedom published by the Teaching Company, Dr. Rufus Fears makes a strong case that at no point in world history has any society offered the level of personal freedom of that in the United States. Working with schools in other countries where a student can be physically beaten or permanently expelled for disrespecting a teacher really drives home the level of personal freedoms that we often take for granted.
One school administrator we interviewed in a high school in South Africa was astounded that his practice of bringing in attack trained police dogs to personally sniff each student in his school for drugs accompanied by a manual pat down search of each student by police officers would be considered unlawful in the United States. At the time, I was serving as an expert witness for the defense in a federal civil action brought against a local police department because a female police officer had asked a student to pull her bra forward slightly during a metal detection screening at an alternative school. The South African administrator could not understand how a school official in our country could be litigated for searching a student under any conditions.
It is easy to forget how much freedom we enjoy in this country and July 4th should always serve as a reminder to us just how free we really are.