Guilt by Association

Hemp is part of the cannabis family.  No matter that it is extremely useful as a replacement for cotton that does not require pesticides or herbicides. I found this interesting comment on why growing Hemp is banned in the USA:

“Then, in 1948, marijuana became a restricted substance. Although hemp is from the same plant family  as marijuana, congress exempted industrial hemp growers from this law. I guess they didn’t see a reason to lock up one family member, just because the other family member could cause some trouble. However, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics lumped all cannabis together and the DEA continues to do so today.

It’s not known for sure why hemp was lumped together with cannabis, since you can’t get “high” from hemp. But, according to the 1985 book, The Emporer Wears No Clothes, the author Jack Herer states that DuPont played a key role in the criminalization of hemp. By stopping the growth of hemp, DuPont would have a monopoly on producing plastic and paper under their recently patented processes that used coal, oil and wood pulp respectively.”

Do you see parallels here?

Schools have banned social networks such as Facebook and Myspace from use at school. However, it includes other sites such as individual Ning networks like Flat Classroom or Digiteen set up for the express purpose of education. I also hear of other sites like Edmodo and Wikispaces also being banned as well as del.icio.us being banned.

Guilt by association doesn't make sense when you're talking about hemp AND about educational networks.

Educational networks use social networking-type tools for an educational purpose and are some of the most student-friendly ways to get students talking about a subject and make the topic more “sticky” in my opinion.

The fact that hemp is banned makes no sense. Take a look at the facts.

Then, ask yourself, why are we banning some of the most useful tools for sparking student conversations about subject matter that needs a spark (like core subject matter?) Does this make any sense at all?

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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1 comment

Kevin June 21, 2010 - 12:46 am

Thank you for this post. I think that it is an important thing that schools need to look at when making decisions like this. When a school bans something like facebook they may have good intentions but then it spills over to banning other useful tools that we can use in our classroom just like happened with hemp just because it is “related” to cannabis.

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere