Kids have great ideas, but without the First Amendment, we’ d never hear them. Chloe Olson-Rubiano had an idea… but her school thought it was too controversial. Free speech can be, but that helps us grow, and makes life interesting!
When Chloe, who is in 8th grade, wore her T-Shirt to school recently in Fayetteville, Arkansas, one of the administrators said that the shirt might “open the door to conversations.” But, isn’t that what we want in our democracy, conversations about the issues that affect our lives? Chloe was expressing something that was important to her. The Supreme Court ruled in “Tinker v Des Moines” that she has a right to do that unless her speech is “materially and substantially disruptive” or intrudes on the “rights of others.” Chloe’s shirt did neither. She had worn it many times without a problem.
Yes, the Supreme Court ruled in “Bethel vs Fraser,” (1986) that student speech cannot be “lewd or obscene.” But, is the word “virginity” lewd or obscene? I’m a nurse, and I say ‘no!” Chloe didn’t think so, either. What do you think? Happy Constitution Day, Chloe, and to everyone who keeps our First Amendment alive by using it!