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Date Posted: 14:08:00 03/18/05 Fri
Author: Jean
Subject: First Amendment Victory for Student

I did not write this article!

But....The Rutherford people ROCK!
Good for them!!!!
Another Victory in the war of protecting the constitution from stupid people!

You go Rutherford Institute!!!

PS there a lot of interesting articles and such on their website.... www.rutherford.org
Happy Reading


Contact Info: Nisha N. Mohammed Ph: (434) 978-3888, ext. 604; Pager: 800-946-4646, Pin #: 1478257; E-mail: Nisha@Rutherford.org
Rutherford Institute Wins First Amendment Victory for Student Prohibited Under Zero Tolerance From Wearing Marine Corps Creed T-Shirt to School

U.S. District Court Rules Indiana Student Has a Constitutional Right to Wear Marine Corps T-Shirt to School

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana has ruled in favor of the First Amendment rights of a high school student who was prohibited under his school’s dress policy from wearing a T-shirt bearing the likeness of an M-16 rifle and the text of the Marine Corps Creed. While the court ruled that the school’s ban on “symbols of violence” is permitted by the First Amendment, it held the ban on the Marine T-shirt in question to be unconstitutional. “Schools are under undeniable pressure to prevent student violence, and the commitment of the Board and administrators here in that regard is commendable,” stated Judge Cosbey in his order. “Yet, the discretion afforded to administrators to censor student speech cannot be limitless.” A copy of the district court’s ruling is available online here.

“This is a very important victory for the free speech rights of students,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “Hopefully, this decision will send a message to public school administrators that they need to temper their zero tolerance policies so as not to violate students’ rights to express themselves through the articles of clothing they wear—rights protected by the First Amendment.”

On March 17, 2003, 16-year-old Nelson Griggs, a sophomore at Elmhurst High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., who strongly supports the U.S. Marines, wore a T-shirt to school that bore the image of an M-16 rifle, the standard issue American military rifle, and a portion of a work entitled “My Rifle,” also known as the “Marine Corps Creed.” Written by Major General William H. Rupertus (USMC, Ret.) following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1942, the Marine Corps Creed is widely accepted and quoted in the American military, law enforcement and rifle sports communities as a statement of personal responsibility and rifle safety. On the day Griggs wore the T-shirt to school to “express pride in [his] fellow countrymen that are going to war,” a school official ordered him to either take it off or turn it inside out, threatening to suspend him should he not obey and forbidding him from wearing the shirt to school again. When Griggs again wore the T-shirt to school, believing that he possessed a constitutional right under the First Amendment to display the Marine Corps Creed and logo, school officials ordered him to serve in-school suspension and threatened him with graver consequences, including out-of-school suspension. Ironically, hanging on the wall of the room in which Griggs served his in-school suspension was a U.S. Marine Corps recruiting poster depicting a marine holding an M-16 rifle identical to the one shown on Griggs’ T-shirt. Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute filed suit in U.S. District Court in March 2004 on behalf of Griggs, arguing that the zero tolerance nature of the school’s dress code provisions violates core First Amendment principles. Institute attorneys pointed out that the right of students to express messages via the articles of clothing they wear is protected by the U.S. Constitution. Affiliate attorney John Drier of Fort Wayne, Ind., worked with The Rutherford Institute in its defense of Griggs.

The Rutherford Institute is an international, nonprofit civil liberties organization committed to defending constitutional and human rights.

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P.O. Box 7482
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Phone :: 434.978.3888 (8:30 AM - 5:00 PM Eastern) | Fax :: 434.978.1789
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