Published Online: April 3, 2013
Published in Print: April 3, 2013, as Schools Can Ban Confederate T-Shirts

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Schools Can Ban Confederate T-Shirts

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A federal appeals court has upheld a South Carolina district's restrictions barring a student from wearing various Confederate flag T-shirts to school.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, in Richmond, Va., held unanimously that past racial incidents in the district's schools and the potential for differing student interpretations of such shirts justified school officials' view that the shirts were likely to cause a substantial disruption.

The case involves Candace Hardwick, who clashed repeatedly from 2002 to 2006 with administrators at her middle school and high school in the 1,600-student Latta district over her desire to wear T-shirts with Confederate themes.

Ms. Hardwick and her parents sued the district under the First Amendment. A federal district court granted summary judgment to the defendants.

In its decision last week in Hardwick v. Heyward, the court said most of the shirts at issue were properly viewed as "Confederate" shirts and could be regulated by the district.

Vol. 32, Issue 27, Page 4

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