ERIC Number: EJ711001
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Mar-1
Reference Count: N/A
Courtside: Gifted Irony?
Zirkel, Perry A.
Phi Delta Kappan, v86 n7 p556 Mar 2005
During the 2002-03 school year, Michael B., Rebecca D., and Aldo V. were eighth-graders at the Regional Gifted Center program at the Beaubien School in the Chicago school system. In February, the Beaubien School held an annual contest for eighth-graders to determine the design for the class T-shirt. Michael was disappointed that his design did not win the contest. Dissatisfied with the winning entry, he, Rebecca, and Aldo decided to create a T-shirt for the students in the gifted program. Their design consisted of a caricature of a student with disabilities on the front and the label "Gifties 2003" on the back. The caricature was a boy with a missing hand, an oversized head, extremely dilated eyes, and large gaps between his teeth. Apparently having obtained word of the proposed T-shirt, the administrators at Beaubien warned all the students in the gifted program that if they wore an unofficial T-shirt to school they would face "serious consequences." The primary reason offered was "safety" in terms of possible physical retaliation from the non-gifted students. In response, Michael, Rebecca, and Aldo drafted a petition for all 90 eighth-grade students to determine if anyone objected to the wearing of the alternative T-shirt. They obtained more than 50 signatures in one morning, but the teachers effectively quashed their efforts by announcing that anyone who signed the petition thereafter would be suspended from school. This resulted in a court case filed by the parents of Michael, Rebecca, and Aldo. The case is described in this article. (Contains 12 notes.)
Descriptors: Censorship, Disabilities, Freedom of Speech, Court Litigation, Academically Gifted, Educational Environment, Grade 8
Phi Delta Kappa International, Inc., 408 N. Union St., P.O. Box 789, Bloomington, IN 47402-0789. Web site: http://www.pdkintl.org.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 8
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: First Amendment