Today the ACLU of Louisiana released a letter to the Superintendents of all school districts in Louisiana, reminding them to respect the rights of students and school personnel to discuss issues surrounding the inauguration of Barack Obama on January 20. The letter was prompted by reports of students being punished after Election Day for discussion of the election and its outcome.
"Regardless of political opinion, everyone must accept and respect the President of the United States," the letter reads. "Students and staff must have the equal right to express their views of this election and inauguration, and must be encouraged to respect the President and the office of the Presidency, whether or not they agree with the individual or his policies."
According to Marjorie R. Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana, in several areas around Louisiana students were prohibited from mentioning Mr. Obama's name after the election, were not permitted to wear clothing with his image, and in some cases were told by teachers not to discuss the election because the teacher didn't like the outcome. "This country has flourished because of our democratic system of elections. We as Americans know that when any election is over, we all must rally behind the winner," Esman said. "It's important for students to know that we can agree to disagree, while supporting the right of free debate that makes this country strong."