Skip to comments.Student says T-shirt slogans got her a day's suspension
Posted on 05/26/2005 10:22:33 AM PDT by freepatriot32
A teenager was back in class Friday after receiving a one-day suspension for wearing a T-shirt with slogans including "freedom of expression" and "don't drink and drive" that school administrators considered disruptive.
Hanna Smith, 18, a junior at Tift County High School, said principal Mike Duck told her that if she wore the shirt again she would be suspended for the remainder of the year.
The principal was arrested six years ago for DUI and running a stop sign, the Tifton Gazette said Friday in a story on Smith's suspension. Duck made a public apology for the DUI and was himself suspended for five days.
Smith's mother, Tracy Fletcher, said she would defend her daughter's right to express herself, even if it means hiring an attorney and taking the case to court.
"They want everyone to fit into a mold and there's no room for individuality. These kids are our future, I think they should be treated with a little more respect. Their opinions count. Their thoughts count," Fletcher said.
The principal confirmed that Smith was back in class Friday without the banned T-shirt, which also had a peace symbol on the front and "Veritas" (truth) written on the back.
On Friday, Smith wore a different T-shirt, this one reading "Don't Underestimate Individuality," her mother said. The first letters of those words spell "DUI." Her mother said the teen plans to wear the banned T-shirt again on Monday.
Duck said he could not comment on the suspension.
"We can't discuss children and their issue," he said. "It's a matter of privacy and protection of their rights."
The school system's dress code forbids disruptive clothing, grooming and symbols. Principals decide what's disruptive.
"I have an obligation to maintain an orderly environment," Duck said. "The courts give me the authority and the right to make those decisions and as long as I'm sitting in this chair that's what I'm going to do."
Smith said she learned about Constitutional rights, such as freedom of expression, in class and wishes school officials would honor them.
"I think it's silly that we can't practice the freedoms that they teach us here," Smith said. "You would think that school officials would have respect for the law and people's rights, or at least they should."
That is EXACTLY what I am thinking... There are LOTS of kids who turn 18 early in their senior year or even during the summer... But if you are 18 in your junior year...well...I'm thinking that you started REALLY late or were held back along the way (for whatever reason)...
Neither you nor Clinton were in a high school where the court has ruled that the education mission overrides most everything else.
If the kid was wearing an anti bush shirt, youd all be patting the guy back.
Bill Clinton represented both authority and discipline when he told Juanita to put some ice on it.
The idea is actually oxymoronic. (BTW, per Miss Smith's example, I've just launched two coded insults at you.) Okay, since you want to splash around in the political pond, let's test your principles. What if Michael Scheuer started wearing a t-shirt around the CIA calling Tenet a political puppet?
If you are in leadership and have committed a crime that affects your ability to lead, you should step down.
Or what if a recruit at basic training decides his drill sergeant is an SOB and scrawls something to that effect on his shirt when he falls in for PT? How tolerant would you be of that? Or would you be part of the chorus proclaiming how richly they deserved what they got?
Public schools are not (yet) a government military environment but any DI who commits certain crimes should be disqualified from leadership.
Possibly, but this late in the school year, being 18 and a junior is not that rare.
Rural Georgia courts aren't noted for their willingness to undermine authority, and the principal is correct when he says that there is a lot of precedent for his actions. I say Smith will lose.
it can't help but be better than the version BBC did a number of years ago.
i almost slapped the couple sitting next to me when i saw the preview, i knew it right away but the grrl said something like "oooh! another harry potter movie" then after the title was shown her boyfriend said something to the extent of "oh, there's like 4 books in the series, its just a rip off of LotR"
Again, whether the principal committed assault, rape, or DUI and running a stop sign, he should resign or be removed from any leadership position. Yes, I know the Clinton Fans have a different standard for leaders ...
Oh, so you're advocating that the principal lose his job. Okay, that I can understand, although I disagree with your opinion, because the DUI hasn't affected his ability to do his job - and military leadership isn't in his job description. Miss Smith is merely a gadfly.
It seems to me that the principle running the school is a little angry at this student because she is only reminding the student body what a hypocrite he really is.
I guess he just can't take the heat. He should resign for the good of the school.
Clinton and his fans made the case that his behavior did not affect his ability to do his job and you seem to imply that only military leadership might have made that premise invalid.
Oh, so you're advocating that the principal lose his job.
I wrote as much.
Okay, that I can understand, although I disagree with your opinion, because the DUI hasn't affected his ability to do his job - and military leadership isn't in his job description. Miss Smith is merely a gadfly.
Linda Tripp was such a gadfly ...
That's what I was wondering. I was 15 when I started my junior year.
Which likely wouldn't have happened if the principal didn't go completely overboard in response to the first T-shirt. "Don't drink and drive" is a perfectly positive message. It's crazy that such a message should not be permitted because the he once had a DUI six years ago. I wouldn't go so far as to say (as other posters have) that illegal actions should unconditionally disqualify a principal, but if his actions make him this sensitive to messages that should be heard, then he really needs to find himself another job.
No, we'd similarly disagree with the principal and send him nasty emails. I think I'd rather deal with an anti-Bush HS student than some dope head HS student.
HOWEVER, it's not even an overtly political t-shirt. It's a "Don't drink and Drive" t-shirt.
That's what happens when you start Kindergarten at age 6 instead of 5. Not necessarily caused by having to repeat a grade somwhere along the line.
With all due respect to freedom of expression, your kids are not my future--I am my future. Your kid will get respect from me when he or she earns it.
I caught up. Ping to my #41.
You are right, they probably DO have a history. He may in fact have a history with several of the girls in the school.
IT would not be at all unusual if she was just getting back at the guy for unwanted sexual advances, or sexual harrassment while he was on the job... and had a few too many. She may not have appreciated some other well known drunken behaviors by this dude. The message perhaps? "Back off letch!!!"
btw... the girl WILL win.
Take it to the bank.
My guess is the girls in the school don't like the guy because there may in fact be some FUI or SHUI behaviors going on, without consequence for the guy.
I doubt it's just the tshirt thing.
You literally made me snort coffee out my nose. LOL
Children are in school to learn citizenship as much as math, and good citizenship means objecting to inept leadership. The girl did exactly what she should have done.
As for him paying his debt to society, I suppose you'd also advocate letting released child molestors run daycare centers or convicted murderers teach. Just because you've paid your debt to society doesn't mean your slate is clean and you can do whatever you want. The guy is a bad influence, a horrible role model, and a tyrant. As a general rule, I object to ANY criminal in ANY leadership position in the public schools, and this entire situation clearly demonstrates the wisdom of that position.
DUI and running Stop Signs is a big neal in High School. Kids die every year from this activity. Having a school principal who committed the same crime not so long ago and resumed his duties with 5 days of suspension is a very low standard indeed ...
DUI and running Stop Signs is a big deal in High School. Kids die every year from this activity. Having a school principal who committed the same crime not so long ago and resumed his duties with 5 days of suspension is a very low standard indeed ...
You see her as a Clinton woman just asking for it ...
In other words, there are other slogans on it (them?) that aren't mentioned. We know the media's well-established penchant for creating honest impressions of all that's going on. We know that the DUI was six years ago. We know that the girl intentionally brought it up with t-shirt #2 with a DUI theme.
We know that "administratorS" (note the "S") consider the t-shirts and slogans to be disruptive. We know that a suspension was upheld, and if I know a superintendent and his lawyer well, I'll bet they checked with the administratorS (other than principal) on this. You can bet that if this was a big RED FLAG that they would have pulled this principal up to a screeching halt by his short hairs.
You also know that this is rural GEORGIA where school discipline is still dear to the hearts of many judges as is so ably point out by AQ. And judges in N. Ga. might not smile favorably is this 18 year old JUNIOR has a problem child record.
I'm betting that the girl loses, but the problem is.....how will be ever know unless someone posts it when it gets announced in Georgia. Got any North Georgians around here? :>)
They are going to be in hot water allowing an individual to decide what's disruptive in terms of the content on shirts. They need to ban all expressive shirts, with the stated exception of school, college, and shirts with manufacturer's logos. Or, they need to go to uniforms. I support the school enforcing their rules, but come on, "don't drink and drive" is disruptive? I thought they showed videos saying the same thing.
The Clinton Fans made the same claims for Bill and Hillary Clinton. They were either exonerated by the legal system or the issues were adjudicated. The House and Senate handed down their punishment and our opinion on the situation did not matter at all ...
They were as angry as you are that we even brought it up ...
Here's a dopey girl and her enabler mommy causing all kinds of problems to get attention.
Linda Tripp causing all kinds of problems to get attention ...
That this issue is even being discussed on an Internet board proves that the girls actions were a distraction, and the principal was correct in his actions to resolve the matter.
It proves that the principal should resign or be forced from his position of authority and leadership and that there are always fans who will back him up if he does not ...
You've already compared the guy to Clinton...why not try Hitler next?
NO I agree with you.
I was suggesting that HE may be one of those guys, flirting or making advances with the girls at the high school, while under the influence.
not the girl. Got it? He's the drunk, not her. She's pointing something out for some reason.
He is perhaps, in the habit of doing things he shouldn't while tanked. And perhaps, the girl was just 'responding'.
NC Tarheel shirts offend me.
How long before pictures of her engaging in some underage drinking surface? LOL~
Using your logic all programs in school that advocate "Don't Drink and Drive" should be banned becaus someone might relate it to the Principal and make the Principal feel embarrassed.
The truth is that the Principal should have been standing next to that girl in the hallways between classes pointing to the shirt and saying "She's right! Look at all the trouble I got into making that kind of mistake!"
The problem is that it sounds like the Principal is more concerned about his reputation than he is about the truth and sending a good message.
The truth should never be stepped on just because it disrupts things a little.
Actually, we have no idea what that principal did 6 YEARS AGO when the violation occurred. I suspect that it's brought up again just because the girl, an 18 year old JUNIOR, wants to be difficult. Please see #132
From the article: "The school system's dress code forbids disruptive clothing, grooming and symbols. Principals decide what's disruptive." So the principal made the initial call (I think we agree on that part). After that, I think the instinct of administrators is generally to uphold the principal's decision, for fear of undermining his authority.
Unlike others on this thread, I'm not doubting that the principal's action was "legal", and it may very well be upheld by the courts. It was still highly inappropriate and unprofessional, by all indications.
Nice. We have a "Do as I say, not as I do" liberal on this thread.