Student Suspended for Wearing Political Tee-Shirt in Colorado

Even at eleven years old, Daxx Dalton shares his father’s intense conservative views and displayed those views by wearing a tee-shirt to school that read “Obama is a terrorist’s best friend.” The fifth grader wore the tee-shirt on a day when the students at Aurora Frontier K-8 School were asked to wear red, white and blue to show their patriotism. The school suspended him for the infraction and created a first amendment controversy.

Daxx was given the choice of changing his shirt or turning it inside out — or be suspended. He took the last option.

Daxx’s dad, Dann Dalton (the Daltons appear to be known by the Ds and their double superfluous consonants), is highly political and conservative. He views the action was part of the liberal hegemony: “It’s the public school system. Let’s be honest, it’s full of liberal loons.”

To his credit, Daxx seems firm in his political views and rights: “They’re taking away my right of freedom of speech. If I have the right to wear this shirt I’m going to use it. And if the only way to use it is get suspended, then I’m going to get suspended.”

The decision to have the boy wear the tee-shirt on this day strikes me as a poor parental choice when the idea of the day was to show unity in the class. However, I am once again perplexed why having kids express political interests and views is a bad thing. The tee shirt is obviously juvenile and insulting. Yet, participating in the political system should be a goal of any school.

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9 thoughts on “Student Suspended for Wearing Political Tee-Shirt in Colorado”

  1. The solution in the freedom of speach ,dress code , paddling by the wannabe school despots is to fire the whole lot all the way to the district director . Suspend a student ? You really had to do something to get suspended ????! back in my day! That child is my representative each and everyday for the services they are to receive by law that even they may not ignore !
    A public servant entitlement mucher slacker should mYbe go out and get a real job ! What do you get when you cross a 140 IQ with a teacher —– nothing ! but we still want your vote !

  2. Tom:

    “In our system, state-operated schools may not be enclaves of totalitarianism. School officials do not possess absolute authority over their students. Students in school as well as out of school are “persons” under our Constitution. They are possessed of fundamental rights which the State must respect, just as they themselves must respect their obligations to the State. In our system, students may not be regarded as closed-circuit recipients of only that which the State chooses to communicate. They may not be confined to the expression of those sentiments that are officially approved. In the absence of a specific showing of constitutionally valid reasons to regulate their speech, students are entitled to freedom of expression of their views. As Judge Gewin, speaking for the Fifth Circuit, said, school officials cannot suppress “expressions of feelings with which they do not wish to contend.” Burnside v. Byars, supra, at 749.”

    TINKER v. DES MOINES SCHOOL DIST., 393 U.S. 503 (1969)

  3. Many people have many different opinions. The shirt was not offensive and didn’t hurt anyone or cause a riot. We need to start children at a young age about politics and what their views might be. Maybe if we did that the world would be a much more peaceful place to live in and we wouldn’t have to worry about one person or another getting offended about something so stupid like a t-shirt that says something like this. There are more t-shirts out that are a whole lot more offensive but this just expresses his and his family’s point of interests.

  4. I am not a constitutional scholar, but don’t schools have the right to limit speech within the school in order to keep order and maintain an environment in which learning is not compromised? That being said, I think using it as a learning experience in argument and, just possibly, logical fallacies could be excellent–so long as the teachers did it to kids who wore anti-mccain or anti-plain shirts as well.

  5. Parents using their children as a vehicle for divisive extremist statements that only serve to degrade the already polluted political dialogue of the country.

    “Remember son, anyone who doesn’t believe what we believe isn’t a real person and doesn’t deserve our respect.”

    That’s what this type of message communicates to me, and I see it all too often from both sides of the political debate.

  6. 1st Amendment is not my forte, but this sort of screams…

    Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire

    & possibly Schenk depending on the makeup of the audience.

  7. I have no problem with wearing the t-shirt as long as it doesn’t use profanity. However, what would this parent do if the school asked the kid to tell the class(and any kid who was trying to make a political statement) to tell the whole class what is his evidence to back up his claim. The school could turn it into a learning experience, but I am sure the parent would object because the kid would actually have to look at reality and the real world is not a place of conservatives.

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