FLORENCE, SC – The Southern Legal Resource Center will file a suit in federal court here tomorrow

[Thursday, March 30] on behalf of a Latta High School student who was unfairly punished for wearing Confederate-themed clothing to class.

Tenth grader Candice Michele Hardwick and her parents are suing Latta School District (Dillon County #3) over a series of incidents since 2003 in which Candice was subjected to disciplinary action at school for wearing t-shirts the school deemed potentially disruptive. Some, but not all, of the shirts bore images of Confederate flags. Others carried messages protesting the banning of Confederate symbols in the schools.

The Hardwicks maintain that the shirts were not offensive or disruptive, were not specifically banned by the school’s dress code, and that the "disciplinary" action taken against Candice for wearing them was arbitrary and violated her Constitutional rights. In filing the lawsuit, the family is seeking to have the school board amend its dress code to allow Confederate symbols, and is also seeking actual and punitive damages arising from Candice’s treatment.

In a letter to the SLRC last week, Columbia attorney Vernie Williams, acting for the school board, said the board would relent and allow Candice to wear the protest shirts which did not bear an actual image of the flag, but the SLRC has held that this concession is not good enough and plans to go forward with its legal action.

The suit will be filed at McMillan Federal Building, 401 West Evans Street. The Hardwicks and representatives of the Southern Legal Resource Center will hold a brief news conference outside the courthouse at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time.