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lawsuit in school

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
Did anyone see the lawsuit goin on MSNBC this afternoon? A lesbian high school senior is suing her school because they won't let her wear a suit (guy's suit) for her high school graduation picture! I'll try to find the link on msnbc.com I guess supposedly she is mentioned nowhere in her yearbook because of that. I don't see how she could win a lawsuite like that, do you?
post #2 of 41
I don't know about winning a law suit, but how can they tell her what to wear?? I mean, shouldn't she be able to wear whatever she wants, barring that it is not too revealing etc?

Seems weird to me.
post #3 of 41
Thread Starter 
Schools have policies, like dress codes, so I think they can tell her what to wear? I think she's filing a civil rights-type of lawsuit. I think it's just stupid to even sue a school over something like that..... I mean, how hard is it to dress up in something nice once for a picture!?
post #4 of 41
If she were to win this suit, no public school would be able to enforce a dress code without the possibility of legal action. The girl's request probably seems reasonable to her, but a precedent would be set for future law suits. The wedge theory (or "foot in the door") has proved again and again to be true. It would take years, but the schools might eventually be facing students who would insist that it was their right to attend school in underwear! I don't think we would ever have to worry about nudity, because of hygenic reasons.
post #5 of 41
Well, we recently had some senior girls take legal action to change a school board policy requiring girls to specifically wear dresses or skirts under their graduation gowns. The schools changed the policy and allowed the girls to wear slacks. Then there was the guy that wanted to wear a gown to the homecoming dance or something. Don't remember how that one turned out. You would be amazed, though. In cases involving school law, the courts often find in favor of the students.
post #6 of 41
I attended a Christian college immediately after high school At that time the girls had to wear skirts or dresses, pantyhose, and dress shoes. There was some sort of rebellion about 10 years later. When I went back in the 80's, everyone wore slacks, jeans, or skirts, as they pleased. The school couldn't afford the bad publicity. Of course, at Community College the students often wear shorts. The difference, I believe, is that college students are adults. High school people are at a rebellious stage, but they have to learn that conforming is necessary in certain circumstances, such as getting a particular job. Otherwise, we might have police officers in cut offs with nose rings. I strongly believe in the right of the individual, but the individual must be willing to sacrifice certain privileges if she refuses to conform to society's standards. Backing down on a dress code is not like backing down on your principles, for which one should be willing to die.
post #7 of 41
At our school, they never told us what we could and couldn't wear for our graduation pictures...we were the ones paying for them, for pete's sakes, and unless it showed nudity or something, I don't see a problem with it. But I guess some schools are different. I think it is pretty much pointless for her to sue them, though.
post #8 of 41
I may be wrong but if she sues the school doesn't that money come from the school's budget?
post #9 of 41
I guess it depends on whether it's a public or private school. We have a uniform dress code for our students. I have heard that we can ask them to change, but if we send them home for violating the code, the school could be in trouble. That is, if the parents get upset and consult a lawyer. I don't think a school should be able to tell a student not to wear something, as long as it is appropriate and not too revealing or x rated. Or advocating drugs, etc.
post #10 of 41
Although I do believe that young teens have to be taught that different types of clothing are appropriate in certain situations, I really don't feel strongly one way or the other about the young lady in question. I have been playing devil's advocate.
However, my last teaching position was at a Christian school. There was a strict dress code, the Pledge of Allegiance, prayer before each class, respect for the teachers and guest speakers. Many of our students were not strong Christians; we had one Hindu family. These families wanted the atmosphere of a Christian school.

Having taught in the public schools also, I can compare the two. I don't know which of the above rules would be individually responsible for the wonderful atmosphere we had, but it was certainly different. Not only were we permitted to teach moral standards, we were expected to. These kids weren't perfect; they squabbled a bit, the little ones wiggled in their chairs and "touched their noses" without tissues, tattled on each other, etc. The junior high girls had cliques and copped attitudes. Nevertheless, there was an air of respect and a dedication to purpose that is sometimes found only in the best students in public schools. The difference? I believe it's because the students know that the principal and parents will stand by the teacher if she reprimands a student, that and everything mentioned in the first paragraph--not one thing, but a combination of all.
No, these kids are not naive. They know what the rest of the world is like; they live in it! I think they have a better chance to be good citizens. The Christian school standards today are the public school standards of yesterday. (with the exception of New Testament teaching)
post #11 of 41
Originally posted by BadHabit
I may be wrong but if she sues the school doesn't that money come from the school's budget?
If someone is suing the school, they are usually suing the actual school district. Believe me, there is no public schoool that has enough $ to be useful in any lawsuit. Depending upon the nature of the actual lawsuit, a teacher or an administrator may be sued in a case involving something like negligence. In most districts, the legal department stands behind the teacher or the administrator if it believes that there has been no wrongdoing. Teachers' unions also provide legal protection and representation for their members.
post #12 of 41
Thread Starter 
I guess the whole thing with this lawsuit, is that she wants to be able to wear what she normally wears, and that's boys clothing...... If I remember correctly, the girls had to wear a drape-type top (i cant remember the name of it) and the boys had to wear a suit. Darn, I wonder why it's not on msnbc.com yet?? I know that in my yearbook, everyone wore dresses, suits, or something nice for the senior yearbook part. It's crazy how people sue over the stupidest things.

It was just like that big controvery over girls wearing thongs under their dresses at the high school dances, because teachers thought it was too racy to wear something like that under their dresses.
post #13 of 41
Ok Deb, thanks for clearing that up.
post #14 of 41
They tried to control what kind of underwear they wore? can they do that?????
post #15 of 41
Our dresscode policy says that they can't wear anything deemed "disruptive". That leaves a pretty broad interpretation. We had a teacher this past year who was asked not to wear thong underwear anymore, among a few other things. How did this become an issue? Well, what she was wearing over it made it abundantly clear what she was wearing under it.
post #16 of 41
well thats a pleasant mental image
post #17 of 41
We aim to please! Who says the net is an impersonal form of communication?
post #18 of 41
I might make some people mad here, but it sounds to me like it is a statement. Another case of an in-your-face homosexual. Like I said in the post about the show on Nickelodeon, it is not my business if someone is homosexual, but I don't want to hear about it. I also don't want to hear details about heterosexual sex lives.
post #19 of 41
Thread Starter 
krazy kat2,
I would have to agree with you!
post #20 of 41
We had a story in Toronto about a gay Catholic school student who wanted to bring his boyfriend to the prom and he was told it goes against school policy. He ended up taking them to court and he won based on the fact they were infringing on his human rights. It caused quite the brouhaha here.
post #21 of 41
I agree with you, KrazyKat. It does sound like the "I'm gay so you better treat me extra-special!" argument.

I also wanted to bring up another point: if you go to school, you automatically give up some of your Constitutional rights. Period. There have been a few Supreme Court decisions on this. Schools do have the right to search "your" locker, even your bacpack (if it is in "your" locker) with or without suspicion. Ever heard of random locker searches? Student newspapers can be censored by the Principal. No questions asked, even if it a news story that he/she doesn't want to be covered. Some schools are more lenient about what "rights" students have than others, but if the rules are that she wears a dress for senior pictures then that's the rules. If I remember right, the only exceptions are for legitimate religious beliefs, not sexual orientation or "because I want to."

Unfortunately, she will probably get her way because she is gay and no one wants all the gay rights activists on their case.
post #22 of 41
I think that she should be able to wear whatever she wants. Afterall, its her picture and noone else's. If someone chooses to be gay, then thats their business and they should be entitled to everthing that the rest of us are entitled to.
post #23 of 41
Yes, they should be treated like everyone else, not special because they are gay. There should be equal rights. Not gay rights, the color of you skin rights, single mommy rights, immigration status rights, or anything else they happen to think makes them special. This is just my opinion. I am not trying to offend anyone or start an arguement.
post #24 of 41
I think that if everyone else gets to wear whatever they want, then she should be able to as well. However, if there are rules in place that says what she can and can't wear for the yearbook picture, then she should abide by those rule.

When I got my senior pics done, one of the rules for the yearbook was No Hats. I understood the rule - you don't want someone covering their face with a hat, or have someone wearing a trashing old baseball cap. My favorite outfit that I had at that time included a really nice, blue, wide-brimmed floppy hat. Very dressy. I had my picture taken in that blue hat, and that's the one I gave out to my friends and family. I had pictures taken in a different outfit for the yearbook photo. I didn't sue the school because I wanted to wear the hat!

That's how I see it, too, KK. It should be EQUAL rights for everyone, no matter what their "differences." We are all human, no matter skin color, religion, or sexual preference. Equal rights also means that we ALL have to play by the same rules, whether in legal terms or school rules, or corporate policy. If the rules say girls have to be in dresses for the yearbook photo, then that is the rule. She shouldn't be an exception just because she is gay. She can certainly wear anything she wants for her senior pictures, but if she wants one in the yearbook then she has to abide by the rules.

At least that's how I see it.
post #25 of 41
In my high school , a couple of years before I graduated there was a girl who wore a suit to graduation. She wasn't gay, just tomboyish and hadn't wore a dress since she was 3. There was no problem with it, there probably would have been a bigger issue if she wanted to wear jeans. It wasn't like she wasn't dressed up, she looked great.
post #26 of 41
What's wrong with wearing a suit? It is neat and not revealing. Would there have been a flap, if it was a Chanel suit? After some of the garbage that I've seen kids wear, I find a suit refreshing. I see 8-to-10-years olds in cropped tops, cut-up-to-there shorts, makeup and dragon lady nails. They look just like the hookers, on the stroll.
post #27 of 41
Cindy, Those are their "Sunday Go to Meetin'" clothes! I'm quite serious; I have seen young people dressed like that for Confirmation. The ministers hesitate to say anything because they're afraid the kids (young teens) won't come back! I'm sure I'm quite old fashioned, but I think that's disrespectful. I had a nice young boy in bell choir, and I explained that playing the bells is a visual, as well as musical art. (It is.) I asked if he would please wear his dressy clothes when bell choir played, and he did-willingly. In fact, he checked with me several times, asking if "such and such" would be suitable. The reason he dressed for church in baggy jeans with holes in the knees is because no one told him it wasn't ok. Sure, God wants those kids in church, no matter what they wear, but it was so nice to see him in a nice shirt and slacks for bell choir!
post #28 of 41
Yes, as a student, you do give up some of your Constituional rights, but there are an equal number of cases where the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the student, as well. In cases involving dress, the Court has ruled in favor of the student, as long as the attire wasn't disruptive to the learning environment. In Tinker v. Des Moines the Court ruled that denial of freedom of expression must be justified by a reasonable forecast of substantial disruption.
post #29 of 41
As most people who have posted, it seems clear to me that the woman should be entitled to wear a suit if she wants. If there is a "rule" that says women should wear dresses, then that rule should be changed : it's a touch archaic don't you think? Surely in the year 2002 we, as a society, understand that both a suit and a dress can be appropriate dress for a graduation regardless if the person is gay or not.

Then again, I've never been a fan of dress codes which seem to instill values of conformity even though those values are not always necessary or even preferable.
post #30 of 41
I am really more comfortable in jeans, slacks or shorts than anything else. I had to buy skirts to teach at the Christian School, or choose not to work there. Although I sympathize with the young lady's attempt to stand up for her rights, I think she could choose her "fights" more carefully. We are not teaching her to deal with the real world if we set no standards of acceptability. I sincerely doubt that many prospective employers would hire a woman dressed in a man's suit. They would fear a lack of business. Isn't preparation for the real world the job of parents and schools? If she holds her ground, I applaud her courage, but wonder about her wisdom. Her choice of lifesyle will bring many problems, which she will have to deal with. She can't fight everything; she will have to choose what's most important.
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