FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Citing the Tinker case, a federal district court judge in Louisiana in 1999 upheld the right of Jennifer Roe to wear a black armband to her school in
to protest the school's uniform policy. Roe, a sophomore and honor student when she wore her armband, was told by the principal to take it off or she would be subjected to punishment. He did not change his mind after hearing about the Tinker Supreme Court precedent. Roe said took her stand because "our First Amendment rights are slowly being taken away, and people aren't noticing."
PERSONAL APPEARANCE - HAIR
district court in
has upheld the Morehouse Parish School Board's ban on male students wearing their hair in braids. The school district dress code prohibited male students from wearing braids, but allowed female students to do so. The parents of a freshman at
sued the school board saying their son's equal protection rights had been violated by a code which treated females and males differently. They said it was common for African American males to wear braids, and they did not cause a disturbance in the school. But the court agreed with the school board that the ban advanced legitimate reasons, such as imposing discipline, creating respect for authority and conforming to community standards. To reach its decision, the court relied on a 1972 ruling from the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Karr v. Schmidt, which held by 8-7 that a student does not have the constitutional right to wear his hair as he sees fit. The Fifth Circuit ruling applies to students in
. (The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled in the opposite way in the 1970 case of Richards v. Thurston which applies to students in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and Puerto Rico.)
In 2000, school officials in
settled a lawsuit with the parents of eight Rastafarian children who were being barred from school because their hair and headgear was not in conformity with the school's dress code. According to the terms of the settlement, the children can keep their dreadlocks and wear headgear that matches school uniform colors. The students must allow officials to inspect their headgear everyday for illegal contraband.
St. Tammany Parish School Board and the Sheriff’s Office are being sued by a former high school student who was arrested after allegedly using her cell phone in violation of school policy and then refusing to surrender it to school officials. She contends she was mistreated by the school’s resource officer after making a call to her mother to ask for a ride.