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."
So, you like to be a trouble making wise ass too. It's a tough job but someone has to do it. I used to have a button on my purse that said "Find A Purpose In Life, Be A Bad Example."
You do not attend that school. I think the court will be compelled to consider the "disruption concerns" of schools. If this principal isn't perfect isn't the issue, imho. I think they'll see the issue as whether this distracts the educational purpose of the school.
Is it from the band Overkill?
Ding ding ding!!! Well done! Now, let's mosh!
A teen continuing to grind on the principal's DUI? Sounds like a perfectly good project to me! :-) You go girl!
Reminds me of a comedy bit from 98Rock in Baltimore.
Dwayne Stomp PSA
I imagine that if they were going to fire the principal they would have done so already. I'm also assuming the principal had to deal with the law.
That said, I still think that running around saying that their principal's a drunk driver is a distraction to education. I don't think one can argue against that.
If the principal were a 3 ft tall midget and some kid decided to find cute ways to make fun of that, it could always be argued that the kid's point is true because it WOULD BE TRUE.
However, harping on that is a distraction from the school's education mission.
What a maroon. He's just asking for the whole school to come in wearing "Don't Drink and Drive" t-shirts.
The solution is for him to resign but he ducked that issue.
"I think they'll see the issue as whether this distracts the educational purpose of the school."
The only person causing a disruption is the principal.
The court case itself will determine who was correct about what the court will do. Guess we'll just have to wait.
Maybe that could be the new uniform?
"Most likely not - if you were just under the age to start kindergarten, you'd have to wait a year. That would put you a year older and a grade under ... there were several 18yo juniors in my school ...."
Well..that confuses me a little.
My son's birthday is on September 30th so he JUSt missed the cutoff...like bu 29 days...
When he starts his junior year he will turn SEVENTEEN on September 30th...not 18.
And his following senior year he will start school and then turn 18 right away.
He would have to be held back a year to turn 18 in his junior year.
I agree completely. When I as in high school back in the 1980s, we all understood that the school's first responsibility was to provide an orderly and safe learning environment. The school regulations clearly stated that "protests" would not be tolerated and would result in disciplinary measures. No one went around playing the gadfly.
Regarding Duck's refusal to comment, that is exactly what he should have done. Unlike Miss Smith, he didn't fire off with some smarmy comment on her background. Duck took his punishment for the DUI, so what exactly is her beef anyway? And speaking of being smarmy, Miss Smith needs this little lesson in manners and tact, because one day she'll run across someone who'll do more, perhaps a lot more, than decline to comment. Her actions are immature.
Well put. There is no doubt in my mind the immature 18-year-old was taking a direct shot at the principal. The sad thing is that most posters here know that as well and won't admit it because they abhor authority and or public schools as much as this ignorant 18-year old junior does.
I think a lot of folks think that high school is a place for kids to say and do cool, rebellious things. I don't think the courts see it that way. I believe they think that schools are educational institutions. Imagine that.
The rule in a public school is something along the order of: free speech that doesn't disrupt the educational purpose. I see no problem with that.
I agree about the principal. He could have shot off his mouth, too, but he didn't.
I'm sure you'll be on her side when, after she gets out into the work force, she insults her boss and is fired.
with the way our system is heading, i'd bet "there is no god but allah" would be acceptable. maybe "flush a bible, worship a koran" or how about "anytime someone listens to a bush, they wander lost in a desert for 40 years"
whereas they probably ban the "WWJD" bracelets.
noticing your screen name.. have you seen previews for "the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe"? it's coming out at Christmastime.
Public schools, of course, have their problems, but this issue is a simple matter of discipline. Before the 1960s, no one would have sided with the girl.
Hmmm - ok. The way I see it is: this is the ending of the school year. She could have just turned 18. When she returns in the fall, she'll be an 18yo senior. She could graduate just before her 19th. b'day ...maybe ... perhaps.
Perhaps if Hanna stopped worrying about T-shirts with slogans and started studying she could graduate HIGH SCHOOL before her 21st birthday.
"Well..that confuses me a little. "
I don't know how it is in other states but in MS and LA lots of kids, whose bithday falls after graduation, graduate at 17. My birthday is in March and I was 18 at graduation. My girlfriend's birthday was in October, she was still 17 when we went to college. 18-year-old junior = flunked somewhere along the line down here, possibly twice, depending on birthdate.
Nobody chooses to be a midget. He chose to be a drunk driver. If kids pointing that out is disruptive, he shouldn't be employed.
As I'm sure you would be on the boss's side if a woman had been fired while working at the WH in 1999 ...
Rape is a Crime!
Don't tell me to Put Some Ice on It!
Just like people had problems with the corrupt Clintons and the corrupt Clintons had lots of fans ...
"Before the 1960s, no one would have sided with the girl."
Before the 1960's she probably would have been sent home for wearing ANY T-shirt. :) I graduated in 1987 and was reminded numerous times at school to tuck my shirt in.
I once wore a button that said "No fat chicks" to school. It was confiscated and mysteriously disappeared. I don't remember suing anyone, though. ;)
The educational purpose of the school remains despite isolated mistakes by staff.
I can see a time immediately after such an incident for a week or two when such will be a topic of discussion in any school. I don't think we're dealing with that here.
There has been time for T-Shirts to be made with intentionally inflaming messages printed thereon....not just one, but two. There has been time for a suspension.
This sounds like someone holding onto yesterday's news and using it to distract. I think the court will rule in favor of the school and that disruption will be the basis of their ruling.
What do you think the court will rule?
Yep, I'm very psyched about this. The trailer looked very good! I think if they stick closely to Lewis's text they'll have a real winner. It's liable to get kids all stirred up about something the public schools don't like to admit exists.
M R ducks
M R not ducks
O S A R
C D E D B D wings?
Y I B! M R ducks!
I'm sort of wondering why an 18 year old is just a "junior at Tuft High School."
I thought graduating seniors were normally 17/18 years old.
I smell a subplot here.
I think the court will rule in favor of the girl.
The shirts do not have an obviously negative image. Instead, they are actually positive. Anyone making the connection to the principal either knows the story, or was told the story, so the disruption remains the fault of others, specifically the principal.
Clearly his actions continue to impact his credibility, which, to me, raises serious questions regarding his fitness.
You see, I was one of them attention seeking nonconformist types..........like everyone else.
At least you didn't have an Assistant Principal that would cut off your belt loops if you weren't wearing a belt through them.
Now, why did you go make this political? Why do you assume that because I am on the side of authority and discipline that I'm a Clintonista? 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? 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?
Well I suppose you think Bill Clinton's apology and suspension for impeachment meant all of us who wanted him to resign or be removed were just provocative. Many of the Clinton Fans felt that way and were quite keen on beating it out of us ...
You make a good case. I think the girl could have gotten away with it if she'd left it at just the first shirt.
The coincidence of the 2nd shirt's acronym spelling DUI, though, was a bit too cute. I think the court will see through it.
There's also some reason an 18 year old is just a junior at this High School. I'm betting that these two have a history, not reported in this article, that will also come out.
Good point. She's obviously not kept up with her peers.
Nice to see you were one as well.
You sure assume a whole lot.