A federal appeals court has cast legal doubt on a Nevada district’s uniform policy, holding that requiring students to wear shirts with the motto “Tomorrow’s Leaders” is a form of compelled speech that implicates the First Amendment.
The three-judge panel stopped short of striking down the uniforms of Roy Gomm Elementary School in the Washoe County district. It said the district did not have the chance to present justifications for the infringement on speech because a family’s lawsuit had been dismissed.
The panel also held that an exception allowing students to wear Scout uniforms on meeting days was a content-based restriction that also implicated the free-speech clause. The court said the school district should be given the chance to justify its policy under a strict-scrutiny standard.
A version of this article appeared in the February 26, 2014 edition of Education Week as Federal Court Questions Uniforms with Mottos