Friday, September 01, 2006

Free Speech Friday

A federal appeals court has upheld the free-speech rights of a 13-year-old student who wore a t-shirt critical of George Bush.

An appeals court in New York found that Zachary's constitutional rights were violated when officials at his Vermont school made him stick duct tape over parts of the T-shirt. The shirt also said the president was undertaking a "world domination tour" and showed a picture of his head superimposed on a chicken's body, along with cocaine, a razor blade and a martini glass. Zachary was suspended for a day, but continued to wear the T-shirt to school, complete with duct tape.


The T-shirt "uses harsh rhetoric and imagery to express disagreement with the president's policies and to impugn his character", the court ruled, but the images "are not plainly offensive as a matter of law".

"The standard that the court set was that a kid has free-speech rights as long as the expression of those rights doesn't upset the normal workings of a school," said Allen Gilbert, of the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the case.

Zachary said: "I think this is a very good sign that even with the current administration ... there can still be a justice that allows free speech."

Good for Zachary, a fine young patriot.

Bets on how long before the Swiftboating of Zachary begins?