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Students sent home for offensive t-shirts, should they be allowed to wear to school?

A handful of students were sent home from Florida schools this week after showing up in shirts proclaiming that "Islam is of the Devil," part of a fiery church campaign to "expose" Islam as a religion of violence.

Three high schoolers were forced to leave Tuesday for wearing the shirts made by the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., where school officials say violated the district's dress codes.

A middle schooler was also asked to change clothes because of the shirt, which got a 10-year-old fifth grader sent packing on Monday, when the incidents began.

"Students have a right of free speech, and we have allowed students to come to school wearing clothes with messages," school district staff attorney told the Gainesville Sun.,2933,542963,00.html?loomia_ow=t0:s0:a16:g2:r1:c0.098385:b27365902:z0

Answer Question

Asked by sweet-a-kins at 3:33 PM on Aug. 27, 2009 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
Answers (16)
  • Messages are one thing, but that could be considered inciting hate, or a hate crime.

    Answer by canadianmom1974 at 3:43 PM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • Ok I had this issue back in High School. I had a shirt that was a gay rights shirt but it said I am not gay but my boyfriend is. The school made me put tape over the words. I think if it is something promoting / condoning drugs, violence, or sex that kind of stuff should not be in school. I think it could possibly fall in the crack where I would allow it. I don't know really because it could cause prejudice toward a child that may be from Islam.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:44 PM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • Well, let's turn the problem on its head a bit.

    Let's say they showed up with a shirt that said "Christians Are Idiots." Or how about "Hitler Was Right?" Or "Joseph Smith Was a Con Man?" Or "Bring Back The Inquisition."

    Maybe a shirt with a picture of Mapplethorpe's Jesus in urine piece from about 20 years ago.

    All of the above would be examples of free speech. Is a school the right place for them, though? I think not.

    Answer by gdiamante at 3:45 PM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • If it is in the handbook as a rule then they should have to change. If not , they should have the freedom to wear what they want.

    Answer by itsmesteph11 at 3:46 PM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • yeah I am all for free speech but a PUBLIC school environment is different to me. They have more important things to do then have to deal with the problems kids wearing something like this would cause. If those kids want to wear those shirts out to the mall fine (even though I do NOT agree with them at all!!) but not to school.


    Answer by Anonymous at 3:46 PM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • Clothes (offensive messages, sluttiness, etc) are a distraction from the purpose of school--to LEARN. In our district, uniforms are required....everyone wears the same thing. I support it 110%.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:57 PM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • I agree with sending the kids home. Schools have explicit dress codes and conformity codes by which students are expected to abide by. School is supposed to be a learning environment, and any actions that are contradictory, controversial or potentially inflammatory SHOULD be prohibited!

    My children attend public school (Kindergarten and 2nd grade), and they mandate the maximum size of brand/advertising logos on the outside, and even the fact that clothes may not be more than one size bigger than the child normally wears (no baggy clothes), among about 30 or so other specifications--mostly aimed at girls.

    Answer by LoriKeet at 4:04 PM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • I remember in the dresscodes for my high school it was stated that no "offensive" clothing was allowed.. I would consider this offensive.

    Answer by BEXi at 4:06 PM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • I think that the school was right for sending them home to change the shirts. It did not belong in the school. However, they are free to promote their dislike for the people on their own time.
    As far is being done through a church.....not good! That is showing our young to hate someone. That is totally different than the shirt saying, ".....their ways of life are from the devil"
    I have seen some real winners on shirts and if I wasn't to chubby I would wear a few of them.
    I don't believe that saying something is from the devil is wrong; but, we shouldn't say that people are.
    Lifestyles = yes....from the devil
    people = no....from the devil because we are all made in His image. Some just don't accept that so they follow the devil.
    We homeschooled for 18 years; so I got our kids out of that dress code stuff and they were always dressed nice and not gross with all kinds of sayings and were modest. Maybe uniforms is the way.

    Answer by bloodbought at 5:15 PM on Aug. 27, 2009

  • Answered at 12:45 PM on Aug. 27, 2009 by: gdiamante
    Well, let's turn the problem on its head a bit.

    Let's say they showed up with a shirt that said "Christians Are Idiots." Or how about "Hitler Was Right?" Or "Joseph Smith Was a Con Man?" Or "Bring Back The Inquisition."
    can I wear one that says you are mentally unstable?

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:18 PM on Aug. 27, 2009

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