Today the Principal of Maurepas High School, which had declared that students could wear jerseys in support of the New Orleans Saints, punished a student for wearing a jersey in support of the Indianapolis Colts. The student, who had lived most of his life in Indianapolis and has an outstanding academic record, was called out of class and told that he was not allowed to wear that shirt. When he refused to change his shirt, the Principal sent him home.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sent a letter to the Principal, Steven Vampran, demanding that the school restore the student's record and erase any mention of disciplinary action that may have been taken because he chose to support a team that is not the Principals' favorite. "Students do not give up their free speech rights at the schoolhouse gate," said ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie R. Esman. "To allow students to express support of one team but not the other amounts to forcing support of the team that the Principal likes. As excited as people are about the Saints going to the Super Bowl, students like everyone else have the right to choose which team they prefer."
The student in question recently joined the National Guard, to protect this country and its founding beliefs. The right to free expression - including cheering for a football team - is one of those fundamental rights. Esman continued: "The school should be proud of this young man and his commitment to his country and the rights we enjoy. And, after all, it takes two teams to play a football game, and fans of both sides are entitled to cheer."
A copy of the open letter may be found here.