PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - You can purchase a variety of Confederate flag hoodies online. It is not certain which type is being worn by a Plum student, what is certain is that at least one African-American student and her parents are disturbed and upset.
"My daughter shouldn't have to endure or be subjected to hatred, bigotry, or any kind of racial animus."
Robert Williams has a 16-year-old daughter at Plum High School who complained about the hoodie. At first, they say the school ordered the student to remove the Confederate flag, but later they allowed him to wear it.
Williams: They believe that this child has a First Amendment right to express his views with the Confederate flag.
KDKA's Paul Martino: How do you feel about that?
Williams: I disagree.
Williams said the school cited U.S. Supreme Court's Tinker ruling, which concluded wearing black armbands protesting the Vietnam War in school "were not disruptive." But the court also said student expression can be limited "if there's a substantial disruption."
Recent appellate courts have ruled that the Confederate flag would cause a substantial and material disruption.
"First Amendment rights aren't absolute. I cant run around and go into a movie theater and yell 'fire,'" Williams said. "To wear the Confederate flag in a classroom environment, in a school environment, it was very disruptive and upsetting to my child."
Superintendent Dr. Tim Glasspool told KDKA that the issue is complex, and that the school cannot restrict the student's speech without a substantial disruption.
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