Steve Jenson's blog

Good News for America:
Judge Rules on Student Anarchy Club

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP, Nov. 1) -- A judge ruled Thursday that a 15-year-old sophomore cannot form an anarchy club or wear T-shirts opposing the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan because it would disrupt school.

Katie Sierra was suspended from Sissonville High School for three days for promoting the club. She was also told she could not wear T-shirts with messages such as: "When I saw the dead and dying Afghani children on TV, I felt a newly recovered sense of national security. God Bless America."

In a complaint filed by her mother, Sierra argued her right to free speech was being denied.

Circuit Court Judge James Stucky agreed that free speech is "sacred" but he found that such rights are "tempered by the limitations that they ... not disrupt the educational process."

Sierra said she'll pursue the dispute. "I don't want war. I'm not for Afghanistan," she said. "I think that what we're doing to them is just as bad as what they did to us, and I think it needs to be stopped."

James Withrow, lawyer for the Kanawha County Board of Education, argued that an anarchy club was inappropriate because students "do not feel that their school is a safe place anymore."

"Anarchy is the antithesis of what we believe should be in schools," Withrow said. Sierra's attorney, Roger Forman, said she is "being punished for expressing her opinion."

So if Free Speech isn't allowed to be used for disruption, what is it allowed to be used for? Apparently you can have all the Free Speech you want as long as it's only used to promote the party line.

# — 07 November, 2001