Upwards of a dozen high school students in Washington State have been suspended for wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the name of a 1970’s punk rock band known as the “Sex Pistols.” One student said she was “laughed at” by school administrators upon reminding them of a 1969 Supreme Court case validating students’ rights to freedom of speech and expression within the confines of public schools.
The controversy began on Monday when a Several Forks High School student was told to remove her Sex Pistols t-shirt because it was allegedly in violation of the school’s policy against wearing clothing containing sexual references or innuendos.
“Sex Pistols is not a sexual innuendo,” declares former student body president and current senior Devin Chastain. “It is a homage to an important band.”
Junior Alvina Carter echoed Chastain’s claim that the students are being unfairly singled out for expressing their admiration for one band while other rockers’ t-shirts are given a free pass.
“It is the name of a band — people wear Bob Marley and Lil’ Wayne shirts,” Carter said. “I don’t know why we can’t wear Sex Pistols shirts.”
When senior Denay Roberts informed school administrators that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Tinker v. Des Moines case protected students’ rights to express themselves freely in public schools, she said it fell upon deaf ears.
Roberts stated the court’s decision that reads: “It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate. This has been the unmistakable holding of this Court for almost 50 years.”
The result for doing her ‘homework’ and standing up for students’ rights to express themselves in Several Forks High School: “I was basically laughed at,” Roberts said.
Does this public school’s blatant disregard for students’ rights to freedom of speech and expression, as affirmed by the Supreme Court, frustrate the heck out of you? If so, share your feelings with District Superintendent Diana Reaume:
Tel: (360) 374-6262 x. 350