In a case similar to Fraser, a student was sent home twice for wearing a Marilyn Manson t-shirt with a three-faced Jesus on the back. The t-shirt also referenced biblical statements that were deemed inappropriate and disruptive to the learning environment. The court found that the school had the right to impose action for words or phrases that were considered vulgar and offensive. Just as with the Fraser case, the ethical significance is that students do not have the right to wear articles of clothing that depict messages or images in an offensive, public manner.
Lower Court Cases
Canady v. Bossier Parish School Board, 240 F.3d 437 (2001)
To reduce disciplinary action and improve the education process, a Louisiana parish school board implemented a mandatory school uniform policy. The students sued the school district for violating their freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment right. The court decided that the school board has the discretionary right to implement a school uniform policy, as long as it contributes to an educational impact. Additionally, the court indicated that students have the ability to choose their clothing outside of school, which does not interfere or violate their First Amendment rights.
Many schools have adopted or enforced a mandatory school uniform policy. Impoverished or inner-city schools have imposed uniforms for various reasons, including to decrease peer pressure, create a more uniformed identity, and improve student performance. While parents are either opposed or proposed to a school uniform policy, school boards and districts have the right to implement policies that can improve academic outcomes and socializati...
... middle of paper ...
...are dealt with in an ethical manner. Understanding the legalities and significance behind the freedoms of speech and expression can help school officials determine when or when not to pursue a course of action. Abiding by ethical codes of conduct ensures that teachers and administrators are aware of justifiable courses of action.
The most common findings in these cases were based on a possible disruption to the learning environment. The decisions of the other cases in this report was based on the potential for character degradation; improvement of learning outcomes; offensive content; racial discourse; or possible retaliation by other students or the public. Considering the ethical implications before imposing a disciplinary course of action, that can challenge a student’s First Amendment rights, can assist schools in preventing future cases of this magnitude.
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