Monday, October 5, 2009

You be the Judge: Is A School Ban on Wearing the Confederate Flag Constitutional?

Tom Defoe, a student at Anderson County High School (Tennessee) wore clothing depicting the Confederate flag and was suspended for insubordination when he refused to stop wearing the flag to school.

His parents sued the school for violation Tom's free speech. Tom testified in court that he wore the flag to express pride in his southern heritage.

The school testified that a number of racially charged incidents had happened at the school, some of which involved students displaying the flag. They also testified that the flag was offensive to African-American students and that it's display would be disruptive.

Should Tom's free speech be protected? Is the school right to bar displays of the Confederate flag because it might be offensive to some of the students? Does it matter that Tom is wearing it to express his southern heritage and not to offend others?

Log an answer to these questions on this blog and get one, two or three extra points on the Chapter 7 test on September 9, 2009!!! (You must leave your response here and turn in a print out to Mr. Palmer on or before September 9, 2009.)


  1. hi Mr.Palmer its Dan in 7th period i dont think he should wear it to school most because even tho he is showing family pride it can offend some students like i wouldn't come to school with a t-shirt that said 'down with ****' cuz Jewish people will be offended. also if it's something that makes another person feel uncomfortable or threatened then it should't be allowed

  2. Thanks Dan! Write the words "plus two: blog" on top of your scantron on Friday after you take the test.

  3. Honestly no, I don't think it matters if he was wearing a shirt with a flag on it. I see people wearing the Obama shirts, and that goes against what I believe. But they have their freedon of speech too.

    ~Kathleen Appelbaum
    7th period

  4. Mckenzie Tingle 5th period

    I don't think the school should be able to ban the Confederate flag from being worn, becuase its not like he was representing a gang, he was just showing his southern pride. So what if it offens the black people at that school, the Civil War wasn't faught just over slavery, there were a lot of other factors that contributed to the war other than slavery.

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  6. Matthew Shannon (5th)

    The constitution states you have the right to free speech, so imposing on that right to free speech would have to come from a greater issue. On the other hand is the constitutional issue wheather a school may ban the clothing in question. Dress codes are not only set up to provide structure, but are also in place to provide safty, and a better learning enviroment for the students. From that stand point a school has the authority to set up policies to maintain an enviroment suitable for learning and some of you're constutional rights may not be excercised in that location.

    My opinion: no violation of freedom of speech was acted upon due to the greater need for more disipline within the school learning enviroments.

  7. Tiffany (7th period)
    I don't think the school should have the right to ban their students from wearing the Confederate shirt, because students have their rights to express their own pride and every one has free speech.

    There is a law that protect free speech but no law said not to wear your own pride shirt.