ERIC Number: EJ894653
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Feb
Reference Count: 3
Taylor, Kelley R.
Principal Leadership, v10 n6 p8-10 Feb 2010
This article presents a sample legal battle that illustrates school officials' "reasonable forecasts" of substantial disruption in the school environment. In 2006, two students from a Texas high school came to school carrying purses decorated with images of the Confederate flag. The school district has a zero-tolerance policy for clothing or accessories that contained "inappropriate symbolism, especially which discriminates against other students based on race, religion, or sex." Accordingly, the school officials told these students that they could either give the purses to school officials until the end of the school day or have someone come and get them. Instead, the students voluntarily went home. Later, the students appealed the school policy regarding display of the Confederate flag. The principal defended the policy and was affirmed by the school district superintendent. The student's parents later filed suit against the school, claiming violations of their children's right to free speech and expression under the U.S. Constitution. Nevertheless, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of the school district finding the school's ban permissible under the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in "Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District" (1969), which ruled that school officials may restrict student speech or expression "upon showing facts which might reasonably have led school authorities to forecast [that the proscribed speech would cause] substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities." Looking at the case in light of "Tinker," the district court found that school officials "reasonably concluded that the prohibited speech was imposed to prevent an anticipated substantial and material disruption of the educational process at the school."
Descriptors: Court Litigation, School Policy, Freedom of Speech, Constitutional Law, School Administration, Principals, High Schools, Prediction
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site: http://www.principals.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Tinker v Des Moines Independent School District