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Hardwick v. Heyward
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
711 F.3d 426 (2013)
Latta High School (the school) (defendant) had a dress code prohibiting clothing that could be disruptive or offensive. Candice Hardwick (plaintiff) repeatedly wore Confederate-flag shirts to school. The school asked Hardwick to remove the shirts several times and punished her at least once. Hardwick sued the school, claiming that it had violated her (1) First Amendment right to free speech by prohibiting her from wearing a symbol that expressed her heritage and religious views and (2) Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection by singling out Confederate-flag shirts. The school responded that the school had a history of four decades of continuing racial tension and violence, that many students found the Confederate flag to be a racially oppressive symbol, and that the school was trying to prevent disruption. The school also proved that it had asked other students to remove a variety of potentially disruptive or offensive shirts, including Malcolm X shirts that were deemed potentially disruptive in light of the school’s racial tensions. The district court dismissed Hardwick’s claims, and Hardwick appealed to the Fourth Circuit.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Shedd, J.)
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