Speak Out: Should Students Be Allowed to Wear Confederate Clothing in School?

Federal appellate court uphold Latta School District’s decision to not allow a student to wear clothing decorated with the Confederate flag.

By Jason Evans
March 26, 2013

A federal court has ruled that a school district’s need to keep order trumps a student’s right to speak in school.

On Monday, the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a decision by the Latta School District in the Pee Dee to bar a student from wearing clothing decorated with the Confederate flag, GoUpstate.com reports.

Although students’ expression of their views and opinions is an important part of the educational process and receives some First Amendment protection, the right of students to speak in school is limited by the need for school officials to ensure order, protect the rights of other students, and promote the school’s educational mission.

Latta district officials made Candace Hardwick, then 15, change clothes or turn clothes inside-out when she wore Confederate-themed clothes. She was also suspended twice for wearing the clothing.

The Southern Legal Resource Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of the student, claiming the district had violated Hardwick’s right to free speech.

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