School Dress Code???

A friend of mine was suspended from school for wearing a t-shirt that says JESUS FREAK and my question is what do you think about his suspension? Do you think he should have the right to wear whatever he wants or follow dress code? With what constitutional right, you would fight this case in court?

26 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I am a law student myself and would say unfortunately, I would say he does not have much of a constitutional fight since the Supreme Court has previously held in Epperson v. Arkansas that the decisions on regulations that may impress upon some freedoms is within the discretion of the school. The courts only require a compelling interest from the school in determining restrictions on expression. There is no right to wear what you want.

    Saying that, there is an interesting question as to whether this impedes his religious expression. The thing is, even considering the First Amendment, he would still be subject to the school's rules. Wearing that shirt is not a sincere religious conviction the action of which is protected by the Constitution when it is placed up against the ability of the school to create and enforce a neutral dress code that bans all religious dress or mention. That is not restricting a student's ability to express their religion since a shirt with a slogan is not generally considered a religious requirement. When it comes to the health, safety, and welfare of the police powers, the school is given quite a bit of deference in determining how to apply it.

    Sorry, school wins even under the Free Exercise Clause. Could try under Establishment Clause that the school is acting hostile to religion, but still very very hard to show.

  • 1 decade ago

    I feel doubly qualified to answer your question, because I am both a Christian and a teacher.

    Religious intolerance leads to fear and hatred and contempt for people from other religions. None of these things helps a learning environment. The school has a duty and a responsibility to foster and maintain a positive learning environment, and to remove obstacles to it.

    Your friend's T-shirt might have said "Jesus Freak", but the real message he wished to convey is "I am a Fundamentalist Christian". Your friend could have been picked on by non-fundamentalist kids, or he might have gotten into arguments with kids from other religions--or he might have even started stuff himself.

    None of that crap has any place in a school.

    Kids are at school to learn Algebra and American History. The should study the civil war--not create a new intramural one.

    Your friend does not have the right to wear anything he wants. Does he think an employer would put up with inappropriate attire in the face of a clear rule to the contrary?

    Should he follow the dress code? Of course he should! It is reasonable, and there for a reason.

    There is no constitutional right to express your religion in all circumstances. You cannot go into a mosque and ask if they are saved, neither can Muslims disrupt a Christian church service.

    No I would not fight the case in court. I would hope that judges have more important things to do, and the wait lists for court times are bad enough as it is.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    This is not a Constitutional issue.

    School dress codes are RULES the school sets to ensure that students wear appropriate clothing to class. These rules were drawn up because most students don't have any brains and have no idea what is appropriate or not. If these students and their parents would use their heads, the rules wouldn't be necessary.

    Good to see a school that actually enforces their rules. Tell your friend to buy some new shirts and follow the code. He doesn't have freedom of choice in the classroom.

  • :)
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    It doesnt matter what the students or anyone else thinks. The dress code policy is strictly enforced by the if THEY think u violate the dress code, then u violate the dress code. it was unfair for them to suspend your friend, but thats just how it works...if u do choose to take this to court, i wish u and ur friend the best of luck...also, i dont think freedom of speech and freedom of religion would really be relevant to this because the policy is made by the school board.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's long been established that kids have no free speech rights whatsoever. So no, he has no constitutional right to wear it and the only way he could fight it in court is to have at least four justices die while a Republican wasn't in office.

    Should he have the right? Sure, but then again so should the kid in the Bartman T-shirt, the Moustache Rides T-Shirt, and the F*** Bush T-Shirt.

  • 1 decade ago

    It depends, was it a public school or a private school? Private school, maybe. If you have to wear a certain shirt every day, but he didn't, and wore that shirt, he could be. Depends on the school.

    Public school, IMHO, suspension is WAY too extreme. If my classmates wore that, they would be sent to the office, told not to wear that shirt, and put a PE shirt on over it. If they wore it again, then they could be suspended, maybe.

    I wouldn't fight this case in court, if my child were suspended for that I would have a conversation with the princible/headmaster.

    Good luck to your friend!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You must wear whatever the school board say--you don't have a constitutional right on this and you cannot fight it--precedent has been set and there is Starry Decisis on this in Supreme court cases, which means you cannot go to court as lower courts must follow the rules of higher courts.

  • 1 decade ago

    If there is a dress code, everyone has to follow it. That's the point of uniformity.

    I don't believe constitutional rights play any role in this question. The school has the final authority, no matter if it's private or public.

    (I went to Catholic schools & I believe I suffer from 'Catholic School Syndrome' where I were the same clothes all the time, lol.)

    Good Luck !

  • 1 decade ago

    If the school does not permit t-shirts with slogans or words on them, then he was in violation of the dress code. I don't see that he has any right to violate reasonable dress regulations.

    But if he was suspended because of the word "Jesus" on his shirt, while other writing is allowed on school shirts, this may be a violation of free speech. It would depend on the exact nature of the rule and its enforcement.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think that is a very unfair suspension. People have the right to have their own religion. As long as he wasn't preaching to everyone, he should be able to show he loves Jesus in school. What's the dress code; no showing your faith?People at my school wear christian shirts, and no one complains. I think it's unconstitutuional, you have the freedom of religion.

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