The 2019 Top 10. A completely unexhaustive list of (some of) the most absurd civil liberties violations we encountered this year.
1) When the Barrington School Committee was the bully. After a middle school student successfully challenged his out-of-school suspension – twice – the Barrington School Committee sued the student and RIDE. Because questioning authority is very, very, dangerous.
2) When it became a crime – punishable by up to a year in prison – to “maliciously tease” a police horse or K-9. (It isn’t a crime to maliciously tease a person. Yet.)
3) When a blogger maliciously teased a person by commenting on that person’s own social media posts, and the RI Superior Court ordered him to take all his blogs down – without offering him a hearing on the matter. Good thing he didn’t maliciously tease a police dog - see #2, above.
4) When the RI Department of Taxation told non-fiction authors that their work was not creative or original.
5) When the RI Department of Corrections is still invoking an obsolete, century-old law – whixch declares that inmates serving life sentences are legally dead – in order to prevent them from challenging violations of their rights.
6) When the Providence School District hid documents related to its violation of federal law – because violating federal law isn’t bad enough in the first place.
7) When we issued a statement commending six current and former elected state officials for signing onto court briefs urging SCOTUS not to roll back civil rights protections for LGBTQ people. Because it’s actually 1950, not 2019.
9) When Woonsocket launched a kindergarten truancy court “pilot program.” Because if a 5-year-old can’t get to school, let’s haul them into court.
10) When the Narragansett Town Council thought it might be a good idea to bar members of the public from making "personal" remarks or becoming "boisterous" during the public comment period at Council meetings.
Only in Rhode Island, folks. Want more? Read last year’s top 10.