Can a school system's dress code policy curb your free speech? An Anderson County student says so and is suing over the way he was treated because he wore clothes with images of the Confederate Flag, and he wants to change the policy and seeks punitive damages to boot.
The Supreme Court has weighed in on the issues of students' rights and those of school officials several times, with varying results.
Today, the KNS reports the jury in the case is rather stumped on what approach to take to the case:
"Is there a better way to resolve this than common sense?” the jury foreman wrote.
The panel also asked whether wording in various legal definitions and instructions had connotations other than the typical definitions or understandings of those words, which included material and substantial.
Attorneys on both sides said they were uncertain how to answer the jury’s query.
“I don’t know if the case law answers this,” attorney Arthur F. Knight III said. He represents school officials.
Defoe’s attorney, Van R. Irion, remarked, “These words are in the dictionary. I don’t know how to answer this question to the jury. I suppose the answer is keep talking about it.”
Varlan agreed. He sent back a note to the jury with the following instruction.
“Please continue to consider all the instructions as a whole given you.”
The flag certainly has a context of history, but like it or not, that history also includes the emblem being used in bigoted attacks. To see only part of the history is the student's right, but don't schools historically have the right to determine dress codes?
The comments from folks at the WBIR website on the story is full of heated talk, argument and sheer hysteria.
It reminds me of a something a friend told me a long time ago - "High school is tough, but I got over it."