I’m surprised

I would have thought the only reasons the school district thought they could get away with this is they either never heard of the First Amendment or thought it did not apply to them. If it were a private school I would agree they have the power to make and enforce such rules. But they should not have the power if they are a public school:

So when Webber was told to surrender the Confederate flag that flies from the CB antenna on his pickup truck – or be suspended from his job driving a school bus in Talent – the choice was easy.

Webber chose his flag.

The article goes on to say:

Courts have upheld the right of schools to limit display of the Confederate flag on their property. Last November, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the right of a Tennessee school district to suspend a student for wearing a T-shirt and belt buckle bearing the image of the Confederate battle flag.

How about bans on the wearing of the U.S. flag? Or the burning of the U.S. flag?

Can they also ban the wearing of symbols of torture (aka Christian cross)? Keep in mind burning crosses were also used for racist activities.

That is a very slippery slope the courts are stepping onto.

I’m surprised the courts took this path. I hope they get this straightened out with a more freedom of expression tolerant ruling.

[Off topic a little bit but the first website I saw which had a post on this topic failed the test with my Black Listed News Sites utility. This was the first time I had actually got a hit on something I was going to post about. I did a search for more articles on the topic and found this one which was a much better article anyway.]

8 thoughts on “I’m surprised

  1. This is a far cry from (oft-forgotten key word) falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater.

  2. @ubu52 what is surprising is where those limits are being set in this case.

    If “offensive” material is the criteria then we end up in unresolvable conflicts. For example it might be offensive to some that women not wear burqa and offensive to some women that they be force to wear them. Or a piece of jewelry in the shape of a cross can be offensive to some and an important symbol of deeply held beliefs to others.

    It seems to me the proper limits must be only those forms of expression that involve a real and immediate threat of personal injury.

  3. Seems to me that Mr. Webber has an outstanding case for discrimination, given that it is extremely unlikely for anyone to have done something similar were a hypothetical person flying a flag showing a large, black, muscular cat overlayed on a green depiction of the continent of Africa…

    Personally, I have never quite understood the attraction of flying the flag of a failed insurrection, but my lack of understanding, and other people’s lack of historical appreciation, does not warrant me denying another person his or her freedom of expression. Webber slandered/libeled no one, he threatened no one, and his flying a flag was causing no physical harm to anyone, nor would it. Given the previous Supreme-Court-dictated limitations on the First Amendment, the school is on some pretty damned shaky ground.

  4. Seems retarded to me. After all slavery was legal for several decades under the waving stars and stripes, and I don’t recall any great outcry towards wearing or displaying that flag from the usual suspects on that basis. Granted the Rebs battle flag flew for an army that was a de facto defender of that institution regardless of what the individual members of the army believed they were fighting for.
    Even so there is no inherent right to not be offended in this country last time I checked. Put your big boy pants on, shove the pc crap, and accept the fact that people have different views than you do on controversial subjects. Their speech is just as protected as yours.

  5. I have to wonder how they’d react to a Che Guevara T-Shirt.

    ubu, once again, is being coy. The left has to maintain the meme of “reasonable” rights limitations. It’s the basis of everything they do. That and crisis mongering; “This new crisis demands reasonable restrictions…” is the quote of the day, the week, the month, and the century.

    In fact, as we have pointed out many times, there are no proper restrictions on free speech. There are restrictions on plausible threats, slander, libel, and fraud, all of which are violations of someone’s rights. There is no “right to violate rights”.

    I’ll give you this much, ubu; you’re good, but it just won’t play here.

  6. We keep on hearing things like “We need restrictions on our freedoms!”, which, to some extent, is true…but let’s examine the most common example: We shouldn’t allow the yelling of “Fire!” in a crowded theatre.

    Do we really need a law against this? At the very least, I would expect civil law to be able to take care of this–the families of all those people trampled, perhaps even killed, would be itching to sue the person who falsely said there was a fire in a crowded theatre. The person who thought it would be funny to pull such a stunt would be in a world of hurt.

    And that doesn’t even count the charges of criminal mischief, especially when we consider the deaths resulting from such a prank. We’re now up to, at a minimum, negligent homicide.

    After all, that’s generally how privacy violation, libel, and slander challenges to free speech work. There’s sometimes, but not always, laws against such speech–but there is a heck of a lot of case law dealing with such things!

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