BURLESON SCHOOL BOARD SUED OVER BAN ON CONFEDERATE FLAGS
FORT WORTH, TX – Attorneys for the Southern Legal Resource Center are suing Burleson,
TX, school officials over a ban on Confederate symbols that resulted in two students
being punished for displaying them.
The suit will be filed Friday in the U.S. District Court in Fort Worth. A media
conference will be held at the courthouse at 1 p.m. following the filing. SLRC
Chief Trial Counsel Kirk D. Lyons, a member of the Texas State Bar, is representing
the students and their families.
The plaintiffs, two female students at Burleson High School, received purses
bearing Confederate flag images as Christmas presents and brought them to school
in January, 2006. The suit alleges that school officials attempted to confiscate
the purses and sent the girls home when they declined to hand the purses over.
Both girls had previously worn Confederate-themed items to school without incident.
The girls’ parents went through a lengthy appeals process, attempting to have
the school board lift the ban and remove the disciplinary action from the girls’
records. The school board rejected all appeals on grounds that the Confederate
symbol was "racist" and "disruptive" and therefore in violation
of the school district’s student dress code.
The suit alleges that the school board is selective in its application of the
dress code, singling out the Confederate flag for exclusion while permitting
students to wear other controversial symbols including the swastika. The complaint,
which asks for a jury trial, claims violation of the students’ rights to free
speech, due process of law and equal protection under law.
The SLRC is a nonprofit organization that coordinates legal assistance in civil
rights cases involving Southern heritage and culture. In 2006 the SLRC settled
a case out of court on behalf of its client Jacqueline Duty, a Kentucky student
who was barred from her senior prom for wearing a, evening dress patterned after
the Confederate flag. That case in turn was based on a 2004 SLRC victory, Castorina
v. Madison County Schools, in which an appellate court struck down a school
board’s ban on Confederate symbols.
The Southern Legal Resource Center