Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Speech/dress codes: 1 Student-sponsored free speech: 0

A high-school senior who was barred from her prom because she showed up wearing a self-designed sequined dress patterned after the Confederate flag has filed suit, claiming her First Amendment rights were violated.
School officials had gotten wind that she would wear the gown and, her lawyers say, wouldn't even let her leave her vehicle.
I remember at the beginning of the whole "outlaw prayer in schools" frenzy that the bone of contention was only school-sponsored prayer or other shows of religious expression initiated by the school administration. It was understood that "student-sponsored" prayer would still be allowed. Only, soon after, Christian students were being punished for merely displaying a hand-drawn cross on a notebook or wearing a cross pendant (their own personal property, thank you!). Then sports team names couldn't refer to American Indians, even if the names were meant to be proud and strong, like the Braves or the Cherokees (and who would take on a team name that is meant to be self-deriding anyway?)

So now a female student can't even wear a dress she designed and made herself to an after-hours extracurricular event like a prom. I wonder if administrators would have stopped her from attending a football game in the dress? There is no way that simple logic and common respect for other people should give more credence to the accusation of Confederate flag-haters that it represents hate and slavery than it gives to those who actively display it and vociferously say differently - namely, that it represents a proud heritage of Southern descent. If Wisconsin residents can choose their own symbol (cheese, perhaps?) with which to express pride in their lineage, why can't Kentucky residents do the same?


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