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News ::
Student Suspended For Wearing Clothes
02 Nov 2001
Modified: 03 Nov 2001
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
Judge Rules on Student Anarchy Club
By MICHELLE SAXTON, Associated Press Writer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - 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 (news - web sites) 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 with 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,'' Sierra 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.''

Nominate Katie Sierra
for Sissonville High Student of the Month @
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Judge Stucky Misses The Big Picture
02 Nov 2001
The Judge's ruling is the disruption to the educational
process, not a teen wearing a tee shirt with an
opinion re: the war. Her statement is a thought provoking.
God forbid that our children think and discuss anything
of relevance in school!
Katie For Class President!
03 Nov 2001
The judge's ruling annoys me, but is hardly surprising. Still, I like the girl's choice of T-shirt. Trouble with high schools is they're essentially factories, trying to dish out little automatons. They say they're for free speech, self-expression, individualism, etc., but do they really mean it? It's been my experience that they do only within very narrow parameters. For some reason, T-shirts with "questionable" text on them are always drawing fire. As for the anarchist club, technically I think most high schools are supposed to allow all sorts of clubs as long as enough people are interested. The reason this one refuses to allow it, apart from the fact that it clearly dislikes dissent, is that it sees anarchism as just a bunch of crazies wanting to smash things (the usual stereotype) and not as a political ideology.