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Does My Child Have the Right to Wear Political Clothing to School in Pennsylvania?

Does My Child Have the Right to Wear Political Clothing to School in Pennsylvania?

Recently, a Pennsylvania high school student claimed they were suspended for wearing clothing in support of a presidential candidate. The student claims a policy put into place by administrators prohibiting political speech on articles of clothing is unconstitutional and infringes on their rights of free speech and due process of law. As a result, they are suing in federal court. 

For many parents and students across the state of Pennsylvania, this brings the question: can students wear political clothing to school? Continue reading below to learn more and contact our experienced Pennsylvania students rights attorney if you believe your child’s rights were violated. 

What are Students Allowed to Wear to School?

Generally, schools cannot bar a student from wearing clothing simply due to the fact that they disapprove of the message on it. The 1969 Supreme Court Case, Tinker v. Des Moines, concluded that students generally have the right to express political views through their clothing. However, schools are able to prohibit a student from wearing certain clothing if they believe the clothing is “indecent” or may cause disruption. While their opinion matters, school administrators cannot decide upon speculation that a clothing message will be disruptive. Without an actual disruption or reasonable threat of one, the court may reject the school’s argument that the clothing should be banned. 

In the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania’s booklet, “Know Your Rights: A Handbook for Public School Students in Pennsylvania,” the matter of what students can wear to school is discussed. While it is not legal advice, it provides students with guidance. The booklet states the following:

  • Students can be prevented from wearing clothing with messages that are lewd, indecent, promote drug use, disrupt the educational process, or cause a health or safety risk
  • If the message on clothing is religious or political, it is less likely that the school can legally block a student from wearing it
  • School officials are allowed to set dress codes or require school uniforms
  • School officials must return clothing taken from students

If you believe your rights or the rights of your child were infringed upon based on what they wore to school, you may require the assistance of an attorney to fight the matter in court. Our knowledgeable students’ rights attorney can help guide you through these matters. Contact our firm today to speak with an attorney.

Contact our Firm

Anderson, Converse & Fennick is an experienced law firm in York County, Pennsylvania focusing on Education Law, Family Law, Estate Planning, and Civil Litigation matters. If you need a knowledgeable attorney that will effectively represent your interests, contact Anderson, Converse & Fennick today.

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