ACLU goes to court | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

ACLU goes to court

Posted By on Tue, Oct 10, 2006 at 11:25 AM

As promised, the ACLU has filed suit to overturn the Watson Chapel School District's suspension of students who wore black wristbands to school last week in protest of the district uniform policy. News release on the jump.


LITTLE ROCK  The ACLU of Arkansas has filed suit in federal court charging that the Watson Chapel school district violated students’ free speech rights by suspending students for wearing black wristbands in opposition to the school uniform policy. Students planned to wear black wristbands to school Friday, October 6th to silently protest the policy. When school officials discovered the plan, they announced that students wearing the wristbands would be suspended from school for three days; several students wore the wristbands anyway and were suspended and sent home that day.

Ever since the school district passed the highly restrictive uniform policy, parents and students have voiced their opposition to it. Last night parents had the chance to tell their children’s stories and make their views known and at a special hearing of the school board. The school board took no action.

The ACLU is asking the court: 1) to stop the school district from suspending any more students for wearing the wristbands, 2) to tell the district to clear the disciplinary records of any students already suspended and have the rights restored to them that may have been lost as a result of the suspension (such as participation in a club or other extracurricular activity), and, 3) allow students to make up for any lost work due to the suspensions.

“What kind of citizens do we expect to send out to the world with instruction like this about ‘the Land of the Free’?” asked ACLU of Arkansas executive director Rita Sklar. “How do we explain the meaning of the American Revolution to students when we tell them they can’t disagree with authorities – in the most peaceful, lawful, constitutionally protected way – because ‘rules are rules’?  Hopefully students and school officials alike are getting the civics lesson of their lives: that people have rights, and the right to fight for them.”

In the 1969 case of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District the U.S. Supreme Court held that students engaging in symbolic speech and political expression by wearing armbands to protest the Vietnam War were protected under the first amendment to the United States Constitution.  In that case, too, school officials claimed the demonstrated difference of opinion would disturb or disrupt the atmosphere at school; now, as then, there was no disruption, even after some students had worn their wristbands late into the day.

"When government officials try to intimidate people from exercising their free speech rights, and punish them because they don't like what they have to say, it’s a serious free speech violation," said staff attorney Holly Dickson.  "The students who had the nerve to wear a simple armband are faced with failing grades and exclusion from school activities.  Watson Chapel School District has had every chance to prevent this, but they have refused to correct their mistakes. These parents have no choice but to file a lawsuit to protect their children's rights."



Comments (14)

Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Rutledge meddles in women's healthcare in Ohio

    Now Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is working to deprive Ohio women of healthcare. If her work in Arkansas is any indication, it won't be good for Ohio women.
    • Aug 13, 2018
  • State Hospital escapee captured in Memphis

    James Barrett,  who escaped from the Arkansas State Hospital Saturday was captured by U.S. marshals today at a Motel 6 in Memphis, KARK/Fox 16 reports.
    • Aug 13, 2018
  • Monday, Monday

    A slow start to the week. Here's the open line, plus some odds and ends of news and comment.
    • Aug 13, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016
  • The LR chamber does the public's business. Is it accountable? Blue Hog on the case.

    Matt Campbell, lawyer and Blue Hog Report blogger, has sent a Freedom of Information Act request to Jay Chessir, director of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Mayor Mark Stodola related to the publicity stunt yesterday  built around withdrawing from the mayor's rash pronouncement that the city would seek an Amazon HQ2 project even though the city  didn't meet the company's criteria.
    • Oct 20, 2017
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017

Most Viewed

  • Rick Crawford road tripping with Devin Nunes in Azerbaijan

    An Azerbaijan news agency reports on a visit from U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, Donald Trump's protector on the House Intelligence Committee, along with committee member, Rep. Rick Crawford, a Republican from Arkansas's 1st Congressional District.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Monday, Monday

    • Nice leap, Sarge. I didn't say every one was faked, but you will note the…

    • on August 13, 2018
  • Re: Monday, Monday

    • Wrong, still, jhudd. This idiocy was pretty, and unlike the support you and Sarge might…

    • on August 13, 2018
  • Re: The open line: Checking the arc of the moral universe

    • Nice deflection, Sarge. When did I source Hannity? Ever. You, Sarge, right there, no different…

    • on August 13, 2018



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation