Limits on Freedom of Speech

OK, we have all been through school. At what point should there be limits upon what our fellow students are allowed to wear to express their rights to Freedom of Speech?

Here's an interesting case. (See here) where the Burlington Vermont Burlington Free Press reports that a student won his case to wear a t-shirt critical of George Dubyah Bush.

While I am supportive of everyone's right to freedom of speech, I wonder if this court case might not have been wrongly decided.

Let us examine this case for what it might result in. Now understand that the student was wearing a t-shirt that contained images of alcohol and cocaine in order to be derisive of Dubyah. It suggested that right wing proper Dubyah might not have been so proper in his youth. This criticism is proper.

However the school authorities were not objecting to the message. They were objecting to the images. If images such as these are allowed, what limit would there be on any depiction of illegal substances on any students garb? What would prevent the local "head" from wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with nothing more then a marijuana leaf in fluorescent colors? Must such attire be tolerated as well?

Seems to me that it would be required. If the depiction of drugs and alcohol on a t-shirt critical of Dubyah must be allowed, then the depiction of a marijuana leaf by someone who favors legalization of marijuana must also be allowed.

Perhaps you are amongst those that believe no limits should be placed on freedom of speech. I would admit that your opinion is not without merit. However, what of a student that chooses to wear a t-shirt in class that contains images of pedophilia? Will you at least admit that some limits are necessary? I bet we could come to agreement that some limits are necessary. We might continue to disagree on where these limits should be drawn.

For me, I agree with the school administrators. The students are free to wear t-shirts that support their political beliefs, however these t-shirts are not allowed to portray images that might condone illegal activity. Rigid enforcement might prevent expression that condemns such illegal activity, but that is just the breaks. The rules were, no usage of such images.

Zachary Guiles violated these rules. Enforcement of the dress code did not lead to any real violation to his rights of freedom of speech as long as he followed the rules.

What's next? High school students must be allowed to attend class naked because they are in favor of nudism?


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