Last October Waxahachie High School (TX) sophomore Pete Palmer was sent home for wearing a John Edwards 08 t-shirt to school and threatened with suspension if he wore it again. Palmer and his family are suing the Waxahachie Independent School District (WISD). The Palmer’s claim WISD violated Pete’s right to free speech.
According to WISD Superintendent Thomas Collins the t-shirt violated school dress code. The district’s dress code only allows students to wear WISD t-shirts, college or university t-shirts or solid-colored t-shirts. All other t-shirts including political t-shirts are prohibited.
WISD’s dress code is similar to many schools in the area. In fact some schools in Ft. Worth ISD require students to wear uniforms. Out of necessity schools must enforce dress codes especially on the secondary level. Left to their own devices many students would wear clothing that is offensive, provocative, gang related or otherwise inappropriate.
Most likely Palmer and his family signed a student code of conduct among other things included the dress code. Also, since Palmer was a sophomore he should have been well aware of the dress code. He knowingly chose to violate the dress code.