Yesterday, the Sixth Circuit handed down a decision upholding a Tennessee school’s ban on sporting Confederate flag-emblazoned clothing. The plaintiff, a student named William Defoe, claimed that his First Amendment rights were violated when he was sent home and suspended for insubordination for wearing a Confederate flag-emblazoned T-shirt and belt buckle, which, allegedly, were merely expressions of his pride in his southern heritage (Ever hear that one before?). A district court judge tossed Defoe’s suit last year via summary judgment. The Sixth Circuit panel held that “the dress code’s provision banning displays of racially divisive symbols, and its application to the Confederate flag, is narrowly tailored to the state and school district’s substantial interest in educating students in the public school system,” given evidence of racial tensions and violence at Defoe’s school. Concurring, Judge John Rogers wrote, “A plainly reasonable interpretation of a Confederate flag T-shirt or jacket is one of racial hostility or contempt, regardless of the subjective intent of the wearer.”
Check out the AP article here.