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Court says high school can enforce dress code against anti-gay T-shirt
Associated Press (via signonsandiego.com) ^ | April 20, 2006 | Paul Elias

Posted on 04/20/2006 7:02:14 PM PDT by newzjunkey

SAN FRANCISCO – A suburban San Diego teenager who was barred from wearing a T-shirt with anti-gay rhetoric to class lost a bid to have his high school's dress code suspended Thursday after a federal appeals court ruled the school could restrict what students wear to prevent disruptions.

The ruling by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals addressed only the narrow issue of whether the dress code should be unenforced pending the outcome of the student's lawsuit.

A majority of judges said, however, that Tyler Chase Harper was unlikely to prevail on claims that the Poway Unified School District violated his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and religion for keeping him out of class when he wore a shirt with the message “homosexuality is shameful.”

Tyler Chase Harper sued the Poway Unified School District in San Diego federal court after the principal at Poway High School refused to let the student attend class wearing a T-shirt scrawled with the message “homosexuality is shameful.”

Harper was a sophomore at Poway High in 2004 when he wore the T-shirt the day after a group called the Gay-Straight Alliance held a “Day of Silence” to protest intolerance of gays and lesbians. The year before, the campus was disrupted by protests and conflicts between students over the Day of Silence.

After Harper refused to take off the T-shirt, Poway High School's principal kept Harper out of class and assigned him to do homework in a conference room for the rest of the day. He was not suspended from school.

On Thursday, the three-judge appeals court panel said “the school is permitted to prohibit Harper's conduct...if it can demonstrate that the restriction was necessary to prevent either the violation of the rights of other students or substantial disruption of school activities.”

The opinion, written by Judge Stephen Reinhardt and joined by Judge Sydney Thomas for a 2-1 ruling, didn't decide the merits of the student's lawsuit, which will be heard in federal court in San Diego.

Judge Alex Kozinski wrote a blistering dissent, arguing that the high school had in effect authorized a heated debate over sexual orientation when it allowed the “Day of Silence.”

“Harper's T-shirt was not an out-of-the-blue affront to fellow students who were minding their own business,” Kozinski wrote. “Rather, Harper wore his T-shirt in response to the Day of Silence, a political activity that was sponsored or at the very least tolerated by school authorities.”

Jack Sleeth, a school district attorney, said that the 9th Circuit ruling supports the district's prohibition against T-shirts with messages that are offensive to some.

“When it violates the rights of other, then it can be prohibited,” Sleeth said. “It is that simple of an issue.”

Robert Tyler, an attorney for Harper, said he may wait until the main case is decided before determining if further appeals are necessary.

“Mr. Harper's speech was censored,” Tyler said. “There wasn't any disruption, but there was concern that it was politically incorrect.”

The case is Harper v. Poway Unified School District, 04-57037.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; US: California
KEYWORDS: 9thcircuit; 9thcircus; activistcourt; buttpirates; bvdeviant; culturewar; discrimination; doublestandard; dresscode; dresscodes; freespeech; harpervpoway; hatespeech; homosexualagenda; homosexuals; homoteens; judicialtyranny; lawrencevtexas; lawsuit; poway; powayunified; publicschool; publicschools; ruling; sandiego; sandiegocounty; sissy; taxdollarsatwork; tshirt; tubesteaktarzan
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To: spikeytx86
Correction at the bottom, I meant Majority as opposed To Minority.
21 posted on 04/20/2006 8:02:26 PM PDT by spikeytx86 (Pray for Democrats for they have been brainwashed by there fruity little club.)
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To: meyer

The 9th should be split into three circuits and allow GWBush to appoint all the judges for the two new circuits.


22 posted on 04/20/2006 8:05:09 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: therut
second: saying homosexuality is shameful is deraugatory, its virtually calling their lifestyles wrong and immoral.

Not exactly. It is not virtually calling their lifestyle anything. It is actually calling the lifestyle wrong and immoral because that is what the student wearing the t-shirt believes.

23 posted on 04/20/2006 8:13:48 PM PDT by It's me
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To: therut; canuckistan1

Oooops, sorry, I meant that for canuckistan1


24 posted on 04/20/2006 8:14:45 PM PDT by It's me
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To: newzjunkey
Here is a recent article about the ACLU defending students in wearing clothing expressing their thoughts – here is an excerpt:

Following a letter by an attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri warning Superintendent Jim Bogle that court precedents dating back nearly 40 years require public schools to allow students to express political views by means of their clothing, a number of Crocker students came to school Tuesday wearing either the original “S.A.B.” T-shirts or new T-shirts. The new shirts said “freedom of speech” on the front and “students have rights too” on the back. http://www.waynesvilledailyguide.com/articles/2006/04/19/news/news03.txt

Is the ACLU going to rush to the defense of Tyler Chase Harper in the defense of his freedom of speech?

25 posted on 04/20/2006 8:15:06 PM PDT by bulldozer
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To: bulldozer
There are at least three matters of speech the ACLU will not only NOT defend, it will vigorously oppose:

1. Any favorable mention of Christian belief (to include public prayer)

2. Any criticism of darwinian evolution

3. Any criticism of homosexuality or the homosexual lifestyle

In fact, the ACLU stifles speech far more often than it defends it.

26 posted on 04/20/2006 8:21:59 PM PDT by JCEccles
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To: Zeroisanumber
I become convinced that the answer is school uniforms.

I've been in favor of school uniforms since Bush-41 was in office.

27 posted on 04/20/2006 8:28:42 PM PDT by newzjunkey (Don't use illegals: HIREPATRIOTS.COM)
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To: joesnuffy
Homosexuality is shameful

Depends on whether you distinguish the orientation from the activity. The activity can be reasonably condemned as shameful but I would caution going into the territory where the orientation, even considered an innate disorder is shameful. You might be able to control what (or who) you do but it's pretty established the burden of homosexual urges, desires or affections are not taken upon oneself of free will. Someone homosexuals would agree it is shameful which is what tears them up inside as they struggle with it.

28 posted on 04/20/2006 8:37:35 PM PDT by newzjunkey (Don't use illegals: HIREPATRIOTS.COM)
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To: meyer

Judge Stephen Reinhardt is married to Ramona Ripston, exec director of the SoCal aclu. No conflict of interest there.
http://www.aclu-sc.org/News/Releases/1998/100232/


29 posted on 04/20/2006 9:26:21 PM PDT by ab01
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To: DBeers; wagglebee

List and maybe both lists. Freedom of speech, ACLU, Day of Silence - it's got everything.


30 posted on 04/20/2006 9:48:25 PM PDT by little jeremiah (Tolerating evil IS evil.)
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To: newzjunkey
We do not know if there is an innate orientation to homosexuality. Just because homosexuals say they were innately born that way does not mean there is scientific proof of that held belief. It has not been shown with genetics. So if it is innate it must be in how their brain functions. Or is it more a choice. I say we do not know. I also know that not all homosexuals believe they were born that way. Some admit it is a lifestyle choice. I know two homosexuals very well. And I asked them one day about it. They told me they had been in the homosexual scene for many years and they both said it was a choice for them. They prefer that lifestyle. But these guys were also aganist homosexual marriage. Or adoption by gay people. Not all gays are the loud activist type. Most probably are not. That is a very small vocal group.
31 posted on 04/20/2006 9:48:35 PM PDT by therut
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To: newzjunkey

When they don't allow speech they are just forcing you to act in violence.


32 posted on 04/21/2006 9:17:37 AM PDT by Jimbaugh (Fear the Base !!!)
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To: therut
Thanks for the suggestion to check out the Volokh Conspiracy. Good take. The distinction he makes from Tinker and this case is that Tinker remained "value-neutral," whereas this decision reasons upon the Court's perspective of right and wrong as opposed to Tinker's more objective take on disruption of a school's mission. Even there, however, Judge Kozinski correctly slams the school for having allowed the gay protest day. Clearly, the t-shirt this young man wore was appropriate to that discussion.

As the attorny for the kid put it, what's at trial here is political-correctness, not hate speech or disruption. Sadly, this decision is more rather than less reflective of the popular will of Southern CA. So much for the sanctity of majority rule.

33 posted on 04/21/2006 10:10:12 AM PDT by nicollo (All economics are politics)
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To: newzjunkey
“When it violates the rights of other, then it can be prohibited,” Sleeth said. “It is that simple of an issue.”

Then why wasn't the Day of Silence prohibited, you lying dumb sh*t?

34 posted on 04/21/2006 10:13:49 AM PDT by Sir Gawain
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To: AFA-Michigan; AggieCPA; Agitate; AliVeritas; AllTheRage; An American In Dairyland; Annie03; ...
Homosexual Agenda Ping!

If you oppose the homosexualization of society
-add yourself to the ping list!

To be included in or removed from the
HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA PING LIST,
please FReepMail either DBeers or DirtyHarryY2k.

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[ Add keyword = homosexualagenda to flag FR articles to this ping list ]

Jack Sleeth, a school district attorney, said that the 9th Circuit ruling supports the district's prohibition against T-shirts with messages that are offensive to some.

“When it violates the rights of other, then it can be prohibited,” Sleeth said. “It is that simple of an issue.”

Apparently I missed the leftist civics lesson that covered the judge given alienable selective right to not be offended...

35 posted on 04/21/2006 6:40:16 PM PDT by DBeers ()
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To: newzjunkey

Oddly enough if he wore a t-shirt with the words "Christianity is Shameful", this would never have happened.


36 posted on 04/21/2006 6:53:32 PM PDT by trubluolyguy (Procrastinators of the world UNITE!!!.....Tomorrow.)
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To: newzjunkey

“When it violates the rights of other, then it can be prohibited,” Sleeth said. “It is that simple of an issue.”




Now exactly where in the Constitution does it give these poofters the right to NOT be offended?


37 posted on 04/21/2006 7:03:18 PM PDT by trubluolyguy (Procrastinators of the world UNITE!!!.....Tomorrow.)
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To: newzjunkey
Homosexuality is shameful

Depends on whether you distinguish the orientation from the activity.

The context of the terms of this debate leave no ambiguity as to their meaning on either side. "Homosexuality" by the pro-gay side here, obviously means "gay, out and proud." Both sides know this. People aren't "silent" about issues they are truly silent about.

38 posted on 04/22/2006 9:49:58 AM PDT by fwdude (If at first you don't succeed .......... form a committee and hire a consultant.)
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To: newzjunkey

When I was in school, kids wouldn't have been allowed to wear T-shirts to school, let alone ones that said anything on them. Things are so casual these days that there's no going back from T-shirts, I suppose, but a school could certainly forbid ANY wording on them. That would be progress, appearance-wise, at least.


39 posted on 04/22/2006 9:51:47 AM PDT by linda_22003
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To: weegee

"How about wearing a shirt that says "extra-martial sex is shameful"?"

I'm not sure what it means. It's shameful to have non-combatant sex? What is it trying to say?


40 posted on 04/22/2006 9:53:11 AM PDT by linda_22003
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