Both sides say they are now consulting lawyers. If the incident goes to court, precedent seems to be on the students' side. In the famous 1969 case of Tinker V. Des Moines Independent, the court found that neither "students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate," meaning the First Amendment protected expressive clothing worn by students.
And just last year, a high school student won a similar case in Ohio after he was threatened with suspension by administrators for wearing a T-shirt to school featuring a rainbow fish and a slogan that read "Jesus is not a homophobe." The student was eventually awarded $20,000 in damages and for legal fees.
"Regardless of the message," says Dennis, "a public school may not silence the students regarding political speech that was not disruptive."
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