/ July 12, 2008

Constitutional Right to Wear a T-Shirt?

According to a Texas high school student, receiving an education in the US means giving up your first amendment rights. After Paul Palmer was asked twice to change his clothes at school or leave the premises because they disobeyed the school’s dress code, the Palmer family filed a lawsuit against the school for unconstitutional behavior. According to Palmer and his lawyers, the clothing in question, an all black outfit followed by a John Edwards campaign t-shirt, was in no way disruptive to his fellow classmates or inappropriate, the only exception in limiting freedom of expression. Still, school officials insist that their policies regarding dress code are not only legal but also necessary in order to maintain a healthy environment for their students.

Palmer will be represented by the Liberty Legal Institute of Texas who anticipate a positive outcome from the recently filed injunction. Basing their argument mainly from the case of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, Palmer’s attorney is confident the school has no evidence that his display caused any disruptions or that it violated other students’ rights. In addition, they are arguing that the schools policy is particularly egregious with a presidential election fast approaching, a time when students should be learning about their opportunities to speak openly about their beliefs and learn more about the political process. The outcome of the case is yet to be determined but one thing is for sure, Palmer will be learning more than he ever hoped to know about the American judicial system.

Source: Student Press Law Center

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