The Southern Legal Resource Center
e U P D A T E

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Published electronically by the Southern Legal Resource Center

P.O. Box 1235, Black Mountain, NC28711

SLRC argues Burleson case in Federal Appeals Court

NEW ORLEANS – SLRC Chief Trial Counsel Kirk D. Lyons presented the case of two Burleson, TX, high school students, who were suspended for carrying Confederate flag-pattern purses to school, to the Fifth U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday (Feb. 4).

Lyons and opposing counsel representing the BurlesonIndependentSchool District were allowed 20 minutes each to state their respective cases.  Afterwards, Lyons said he “felt comfortable” with the judges’ reception.  The court’s ruling will likely not be handed down for several months.

The case was originally filed in February, 2007, shortly after Burleson High students Ashley Thomas and Aubrey McCallum were suspended for refusing to surrender the purses, which they had received as Christmas presents, to school authorities.  Ashley and Aubrey have since graduated;   Ashley’s sister, Megan, subsequently joined the suit.  A lower court issued a summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and the SLRC appealed to the Fifth Circuit.

Hear oral arguments in the Burleson case online

A complete court recording of  both sides’ arguments in the Burleson case is availavle online at:

Burleson lawsuit earns SLRC ‘Bum Steer” award from Texas magazine

Texas Monthly, an Austin-based publication that bills itself as “The national magazine of Texas,” named the SLRC as one of the recipients of its annual “Bum Steer Awards,” which appear in its January issue.  The “awards” are a listing of previous-year happenings that the magazine’s editors consider to be stupid, bizarre or of dubious worth.

The SLRC’s entry showed a photo of a Confederate Battle Flag purse similar to the ones carried by the Burleson plaintiffs, under a headline reading “Rebels Without a Clue.”  The citation reads, “The Southern Legal Resource Center filed a suit on behalf of Burleson teens Ashley Thomas and Aubrie McAllum, who felt that Burleson ISD had violated their rights by banning them from carrying purses displaying the Confederate battle flag in school.”