A high schooler was kicked out of school not for carrying a gun but for wearing one. I’m Amy E. Feldman.
An Iowa high school student had a class discussion about free speech rights in which the teacher said students have only a limited right to free speech on school grounds. Two days later, the student tested that by wearing a t-shirt—which she had worn before—with a picture of a gun on it with the slogan, “what part of ‘shall not be infringed’ do you not understand?” She was asked to change her shirt and when she refused, was suspended.
Here’s the thing: schools have the right to limit a student’s free speech if it creates a substantial disruption. But a school can’t prohibit political speech based on its content unless it’s obscene, slanderous, or creates immediate danger. Later that day, the school realized its mistake and apologized and ended the suspension but she says it’s still on her record, so she sued. She wasn’t wrong about having the right to wear a shirt that was non-disruptive political speech. But maybe we should all exercise our free speech by talking more, suing less.
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