A senior at Gibson County High School in Tennessee was kicked out of her prom last Saturday for wearing a dress that resembled the Confederate battle flag, according to The Jackson Sun.
School officials told 18-year-old Texanna Edwards that she could not wear the “offensive and inappropriate” dress, but she could change and come back to the event. However, Edwards refused to change out of her custom made dress and consequentially was not allowed to attend prom.
A teacher had advised Edwards not to wear the dress. But Edwards thought that she would still be allowed to attend prom, even though it might offend some people, she told The Jackson Sun. Students at the high school had regularly worn Confederate flags without incident, she said.
Gibson County Special School District Superintendent Eddie Pruett said there had been racial incidents at the high school in recent years.
Schools in the Southern U.S. have struggled to balance students’ First Amendment rights with the need to ensure a safe learning environment for students.
In 2006, a Tennessee high school student was suspended for wearing an image of the Confederate battle flag. He later sued the school district for violating his First Amendment rights, but the lawsuit was dismissed by a federal court, according to CBS News. The judge held that it was reasonable to assume that the racially-charged image could cause “substantial disruption to the school environment.”
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