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Student Fights For Right to Wear Confederate Clothes

South Carolinian teen Candice Hardwick believes her freedom of speech was violated when school officials forced her to change her clothes and turn shirts inside out because they featured the Confederate emblem. Candice, whose state still flies the Confederate flag at the state house, was even suspended from her middle school for continuing to wear the controversial logo. A federal court ruled that the school district could prevent her from wearing the clothing, but now Candice is appealing the decision.

Candice's family says she's not celebrating a past of slavery and segregation; she just wanted to honor her heritage since her family members fought for the South during the Civil War. But for many people, this argument is a smokescreen. To them, the Confederate flag unequivocally represents nostalgia for a disgraceful past, and it's not incidental that the KKK and Neo-Nazi groups use this emblem to represent their views.

If the Confederate emblem is a loaded symbol everywhere, its racial repercussions couldn't be felt more than in Candice's school district, where schools were segregated until the 1970s and separate proms were held for blacks and whites well into the 1980s. Despite Candice's arguments, the lower court ruled that Confederate clothing could disrupt learning in racially diverse schools. We'll have to wait to find out what happens on appeal. Should public schools be able to ban students from wearing Confederate clothing?

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runningesq runningesq 6 years
um, katie, freedom of speech is not absolute. and it's "to"
Happsmjc Happsmjc 6 years
Sorry for the long post--I just have so much law in my head from taking the bar exam in July. :)
Happsmjc Happsmjc 6 years
The first amendment that everyone thinks of simply does not apply in this situation. The idea of the first amendment most people have ONLY applies in very limited public forums (picketing on the sidewalk for example) and even that speech can be regulated by time/place/and manner restrictions that are content neutral. The rest of the law includes many exclusions and exceptions to the broad sense of "freedom of speech" so many have. One of those LARGE exclusions is restricted environments, which include military, prisons, and schools. It is not that those under 18 have limited rights, its that students have limited rights, and schools can regulate any speech that is lewd or vulgar, speech advocating drug use, and any school sponsored speech (a school assembly/school newspaper). Lastly political speech (as it was in this case) actually has the most first amendment protection in schools, but can still be regulated if it substantially disrupts the school environment. (The case that set this standard was the black armband case). As runningesq mentioned the school environment exceptions do not end at the first amendment, but also apply to the fourth amendment search and seizure protections. With that said, even though political speech is still afforded protection in schools, if the school could form an argument that it is substantially disrupting the school environment, which in this case the school obviously did, the political speech may still be banned. Schools can really make any argument, if you look at any schools dress code (many of which ban hoodies in general), schools are just usually an exception to every right mentioned in the bill of rights. I think the main problem is most people only see the first amendment as "Freedom of speech" and never actually realize in what few circumstances that actually applies. Lastly, I personally DESPISE/DETEST the Confederate flag and everything it stood for and still represents (at least to me). I was just saying the other day that I wish the confederate flag was banned in general, not just in schools.
Happsmjc Happsmjc 6 years
The first amendment that everyone thinks of simply does not apply in this situation. The idea of the first amendment most people have ONLY applies in very limited public forums (picketing on the sidewalk for example) and even that speech can be regulated by time/place/and manner restrictions that are content neutral. The rest of the law includes many exclusions and exceptions to the broad sense of "freedom of speech" so many have. One of those LARGE exclusions is restricted environments, which include military, prisons, and schools. It is not that those under 18 have limited rights, its that students have limited rights, and schools can regulate any speech that is lewd or vulgar, speech advocating drug use, and any school sponsored speech (a school assembly/school newspaper). Lastly political speech (as it was in this case) actually has the most first amendment protection in schools, but can still be regulated if it substantially disrupts the school environment. (The case that set this standard was the black armband case). As runningesq mentioned the school environment exceptions do not end at the first amendment, but also apply to the fourth amendment search and seizure protections. With that said, even though political speech is still afforded protection in schools, if the school could form an argument that it is substantially disrupting the school environment, which in this case the school obviously did, the political speech may still be banned. Schools can really make any argument, if you look at any schools dress code (many of which ban hoodies in general), schools are just usually an exception to every right mentioned in the bill of rights. I think the main problem is most people only see the first amendment as "Freedom of speech" and never actually realize in what few circumstances that actually applies. Lastly, I personally DESPISE/DETEST the Confederate flag and everything it stood for and still represents (at least to me). I was just saying the other day that I wish the confederate flag was banned in general, not just in schools.
lawdawg08 lawdawg08 6 years
Texasred, you are obviously uninformed and next time you should probably think before you post. The confederate symbol that the young woman is wearing is not part of the South Carolina state flag nor has it ever been and Troyalg, the confederate flag is a symbol of hate, separation, violence and a host of other negatives. The flag is used by terrorist groups like the KKK and Neo-nazi groups to symbolize just that. I am all for freedom of speech and if the young woman wanted to wear it after class or a swastika then more power to her. But, you cant honestly sit here and say that the flag isn't an affront to an entire race and that it doesn't symbolize the same things that the swastika does.
troyalg troyalg 6 years
I have an idea. Let's ban the British Flag because they were our enemies during the Revolution. This whole argument is ridiciculous. I'm so sick of Political Correctness. Also, one final question, which should hopefully end this thread: did another student find this offensive, (and if so why?) or did a PC teacher make a big deal over something so insignificant?
troyalg troyalg 6 years
I have an idea. Let's ban the British Flag because they were our enemies during the Revolution. This whole argument is ridiciculous. I'm so sick of Political Correctness.Also, one final question, which should hopefully end this thread: did another student find this offensive, (and if so why?) or did a PC teacher make a big deal over something so insignificant?
troyalg troyalg 6 years
TexasRed35, now that I've posted about what you stated, I'm wondering if I assumed too much. Is segregation what you were talking about? I don't want to put words in your mouth.
troyalg troyalg 6 years
"'Is Candice going to school in Boston? I'm just asking because what the self-righteous prig writing this article says of Candice's district is true of Boston, and many other Yankee schools, but you don't hear much about THAT on the news, now, do you?' - TexasRed35 Wow, you still use the word "yankee" as a slur against people who live in the Northern states?" - anonymous TexasRed35 wasn't using "Yankee" as a slur. Don't be so uptight. He was 1) making an obvious distinction between the South and other states. Plus the word "Yankee" isn't a slur. & 2) he making a valid argument. If it's OK to wear the Confederate flag in Boston, which has a similar history of segregated schools, then why is it not OK if it happens to be worn in the South? By the way, I'm from CA, so for arguments sake, I don't live in the South. I don't want people making assumptions because I'm defending this.
troyalg troyalg 6 years
"'Is Candice going to school in Boston? I'm just asking because what the self-righteous prig writing this article says of Candice's district is true of Boston, and many other Yankee schools, but you don't hear much about THAT on the news, now, do you?' - TexasRed35Wow, you still use the word "yankee" as a slur against people who live in the Northern states?" - anonymousTexasRed35 wasn't using "Yankee" as a slur. Don't be so uptight. He was 1) making an obvious distinction between the South and other states. Plus the word "Yankee" isn't a slur. & 2) he making a valid argument. If it's OK to wear the Confederate flag in Boston, which has a similar history of segregated schools, then why is it not OK if it happens to be worn in the South? By the way, I'm from CA, so for arguments sake, I don't live in the South. I don't want people making assumptions because I'm defending this.
troyalg troyalg 6 years
"After reading pretty extensively about the true meaning and history of the Confederate Flags and its many incarnations I find people simplifying it and objecting to the their notion of what it means to be a knee jerk and misguided response. I see nothing wrong with Southerners expressing their pride in their Southern hertiage by sporting the myriad of different flags that were flown by the Confederate States of America." - wackdoodle Thank You! This deserved a re-posting!
troyalg troyalg 6 years
"After reading pretty extensively about the true meaning and history of the Confederate Flags and its many incarnations I find people simplifying it and objecting to the their notion of what it means to be a knee jerk and misguided response. I see nothing wrong with Southerners expressing their pride in their Southern hertiage by sporting the myriad of different flags that were flown by the Confederate States of America." - wackdoodleThank You! This deserved a re-posting!
PinkNC PinkNC 6 years
I think this student just wanted attention. She knew she would have her 15 minutes of fame even if a law suit came about that she lost. And I agree... " The KKK and Neo-Nazis use the flag as a symbol to represent their hateful views. One wouldn't allow a student to wear a swastika on their shirt. And you forfeit a LOT of rights when you enter a public school as a student." Your statement is so true *ECULeah*
PinkNC PinkNC 6 years
I think this student just wanted attention. She knew she would have her 15 minutes of fame even if a law suit came about that she lost.And I agree... " The KKK and Neo-Nazis use the flag as a symbol to represent their hateful views. One wouldn't allow a student to wear a swastika on their shirt. And you forfeit a LOT of rights when you enter a public school as a student."Your statement is so true *ECULeah*
zeze zeze 6 years
"Freedom of speech applies to everyone whether you like what they are saying or not. Freedom of expression should be extended to everyone as well." While we like to think that is true, it really isn't. I get what you are saying, the point of freedom of speech protection is to protect unpopular speech, otherwise it would be unnecessary since everyone will already like what you say - but in certain places the law just doesn't allow it, period. A middle school is easily one of those places.
zeze zeze 6 years
"Freedom of speech applies to everyone whether you like what they are saying or not. Freedom of expression should be extended to everyone as well."While we like to think that is true, it really isn't.I get what you are saying, the point of freedom of speech protection is to protect unpopular speech, otherwise it would be unnecessary since everyone will already like what you say - but in certain places the law just doesn't allow it, period. A middle school is easily one of those places.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 6 years
After reading pretty extensively about the true meaning and history of the Confederate Flags and its many incarnations I find people simplifying it and objecting to the their notion of what it means to be a knee jerk and misguided response. I see nothing wrong with Southerners expressing their pride in their Southern hertiage by sporting the myriad of different flags that were flown by the Confederate States of America. Freedom of speech applies to everyone whether you like what they are saying or not. Freedom of expression should be extended to everyone as well.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 6 years
After reading pretty extensively about the true meaning and history of the Confederate Flags and its many incarnations I find people simplifying it and objecting to the their notion of what it means to be a knee jerk and misguided response. I see nothing wrong with Southerners expressing their pride in their Southern hertiage by sporting the myriad of different flags that were flown by the Confederate States of America. Freedom of speech applies to everyone whether you like what they are saying or not. Freedom of expression should be extended to everyone as well.
staple-salad staple-salad 6 years
I say, if a government building is allowed to freely and proudly fly the flag (aka, it's not like a swastika on a Nazi uniform in a WWII or Holocaust memorial, but flown outside along with things like the US flag and state flag) , it should be allowed to be worn in school, unless that school has had problems before if the symbol inciting violence.
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