Video: Fifth-grader suspended from public school for wearing anti-Obama t-shirt

posted at 12:56 pm on September 23, 2008 by Allahpundit

Needless to say, there must be some hefty consciousness-raising convos happening at the dinner table to motivate someone who won’t be able to vote for another seven years to design his own anti-Messiah shirts. But never mind that. Unconstitutional or no? Answer: Probably, although the latest major Supreme Court statement on school speech — the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case — left the jurisprudence sufficiently vague that you can argue it either way. The Warren Court standard was that students had more or less the same right of free speech as adults so long as they didn’t use it to cause any substantial disruptions at school. The Roberts Court’s gloss, per the “Bong Hits” opinion, is that the strict “substantial disruption” standard no longer applies and that courts should balance students’ right of expression with school administrators’ duty to protect students from advocacy of illegal activity. Where does that leave us here? Nothing illegal being advocated, but there’s bound to be some minor disruption as pro-Obama kids take exception to the message. My guess: Because the message is quintessentially political and judges love to slobber over political speech being at the core of the First Amendment (except in campaign-finance cases, of course), they’ll have no choice but to rule for the kid. Sue, Billy. Sue like the wind. Click the image to watch.

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Geministorm on September 23, 2008 at 6:32 PM

I too take my kids when I vote – I even took my twins when they were infants. My daughter is very interested in civics, because she sees how interested I am in civics. Same with book-reading, animals, and building – she gets her interests from watching how her parents spend their free time.

As I said before, I was very politically active as a child. I grew out of it by the time I joined the Navy, because being in the military was it’s own civics lesson. Now that I’m out, it’s a passion of mine again. No reason to think my kids should be any different – and if they’re not interested, fine. But it is our duty as parents to ensure our children understand how important it is to look at the facts and qualifications before voting, and how important voting is, whether they’re voting for hall monitor or for the nation’s highest office.

Anna on September 23, 2008 at 6:39 PM

Anna on September 23, 2008 at 6:39 PM

+1 +1 +1


Geministorm on September 23, 2008 at 6:41 PM

Geministorm on September 23, 2008 at 6:41 PM

Thanks. It’s been hard, though, because she watches Nick, and they’ve been very one-sided in their kids voting commercials. She knows that Mommy and Daddy want to vote for the ‘Pretty Lady’ and ‘Somebody’s Pop-pop’ because they share our values, which is good enough for a kindergartener.

She calls Obama and Biden ‘Mr. Smiles’ and ‘Man from Delaware’ (my home state). It seems she has inherited my penchant for remembering faces, not names. : )

Anna on September 23, 2008 at 6:52 PM

robblefarian on September 23, 2008 at 2:39 PM

In the FIFTH grade??? This kid is eleven in the fifth grade. At this time of the year, I have mostly NINE year olds, going on TEN in the fifth grade. I don’t think he’s the sharpest tool in the shed.

Just sayin’.

Actually, it’s ten year olds going on eleven in the fifth grade, typically. Just sayin’.

Furthermore, there are many other reasons why a child might be behind a grade aside from being held back. Just be careful about making assumptions, because after all, it makes an “ass” out of “u” and “mption”…or something.

ynot4tony2 on September 23, 2008 at 6:52 PM

If you want smarter voters, it begins early, my friend. Teach your children how to make smart/good choices or better, to do public service, and our country will benefit from it.

Geministorm on September 23, 2008 at 6:32 PM

Well gee “my friend”, I see nothing wrong with what you say, but you apparently think what I say is wrong. Where did I say not to teach them civic duty?
Tell me where I am wrong, and let’s assume that a parent can multi-task, that is they can teach them values, civic duties, public service, and teach them respect and how to be a friend. Let’s teach them to get along on the play ground, because that is where they belong at 10 years old. Going to the polls? Great, that’s about 6 hours a year, on the playground about 1,800 hours a year.
GET IT? doing kids things, rather then adult things is probably about a ratio 500 to 1.
THEY ARE KIDS, wearing a cheap shoddy “Obama is a terrorist” shirt is not teaching civic duty…unless the kid is a straight A, and by the looks and sounds of him, I say lucky to be a C student.
Let’s hope that with all of your “civic” duty you don’t forget to teach the kid how to play ball, go hiking with them, fish with them, teach them to read, write, pick up their room…you see those are kids stuff too.
And maybe if you are lucky you will have kids as responsible, civic minded, productive as mine…
That is the answer to your original challenge, that you bet people who diss kids and parents like is shown probably don’t have kids…you were wrong.

right2bright on September 23, 2008 at 7:19 PM

Geministorm on September 23, 2008 at 6:37 PM

Well, you and I differ. I think making sure the kid has a good education is more important then wearing that foolish, t-shirt.
I am no fan of Obama, but if you think a 10yr. old wearing that specific shirt is a good thing for him, then we just have to agree to disagree.
You have your priorities, I have mine.
School and education and being a kid comes first, then you grow into the rest of the stuff.
My kids were raised in an extremely liberal school district. I never made a fuss, just taught them at home, union members like the teachers have to believe the way they do or they can’t work. Never place yourself in that position that you have to sell your beliefs.
BTW, kids like the kid with the T-shirt, I used to tell my kids that kids like that are important, their families are training those kids to mow lawns, wash cars, clean offices…

right2bright on September 23, 2008 at 7:27 PM

My first thought is that the shirt is a home grown lettered mess, but I’m seen worse that that in the hallways.

Hening on September 23, 2008 at 3:22 PM

We probably should acknowledge and give credit for the fact that the shirt’s message was correctly spelled and even had the apostrophe to indicate that Obama is a terrorist’s best friend.

highhopes on September 23, 2008 at 7:29 PM

right2bright on September 23, 2008 at 3:34 PM

Apparently, it is necessary for schools to define every term they use–I hadn’t thought “Wear something patriotic” would be vague, but it seems to be lost on his parents. I’m particularly disturbed by this notion that children are supposed to have political opinions. Children simply don’t have the life experience or philosophical framework within which to have relevant opinions. We do them no service encouraging them to form opinions when we know full well they cannot do so intelligently.

DrMagnolias on September 23, 2008 at 7:29 PM

I may be wrong,don’t have any background on it,but I believe the kid that wore the “Bush is a terrorist” shirt to school won his right to be able to wear it.

As a parent my wife and I will discuss issues with my daughter but most importantly I am teaching her to read and research the issues on her own.The MSM is basically worthless.
I stress to her not to judge or base her friendships/relationships on political affiliations.
My wife and I are Republicans but we do not stress this to her because we want her to research and come to her own conclusions about where she will stand on issues,then that
will lead her to party affiliation.
A large majority of our friends are democrats so she is being raised that we can have differences of opinions but we
are all Americans.We will take care of our differences at the voting booth.

The kid has the right to wear the shirt and to wear it to school unless the rules specifically forbid political attire.I don’t think this would stand up in court and I am
willing to bet that Obama shirts and anti-Bush shirts have been worn at this school without any uproar.
liberals are good at dishing it out,but cry and whine when
it gets dished back at them:

Grow a pair, Obama
By Michelle Malkin • July 14, 2008 05:26 AM

Welcome to public life.
Guess what? In Washington, political cartoonists and caricaturists spare no one.
*Update* Chris at The Hot Joint reminds me of this truly disgusting cartoon run in the Obama-worshipping Rolling Stone mag last month:

I have been pretty much disgusted and furious at the hate and vitriol thrown at President Bush over the last 8 yrs.and
now watching the same being done to Palin.
It has shown the democratic party is nothing but hateful,bigoted extremist who will say and do anything for
political power.
The FDR democrats that I know and are friends with don’t like Bush,but they are pretty concerned about the extremist of their party that try to hide behind words of “intelligence”,”open mindedness”,”tolerance”,and “free speech” but practice none of it themselves.

Would I have let my daughter wear that shirt to school?
No I would not have.There is plenty to debate about Obama’s
obvious lack of judgment and experience to become Commander
and Chief without having to take the Bill Maher route.
But that is mine and my wife’s personal opinions on our family,not judgment on whether it is right or wrong for somebody else to do it.

Baxter Greene on September 23, 2008 at 9:51 PM

He can wear this instead.

unclesmrgol on September 24, 2008 at 2:12 AM

You have your priorities, I have mine.

You’re correct. I don’t really care too much about my kids being kids, doing kid things or thinking about kids’ topics. My highest priority is making good self-reliant adults/citizens, so that my daughters can take care of themselves, not have to depend on anyone else (especially not a husband/man), and to make good decisions. IMHO, they need to learn how tough life is as soon as possible and know that they have to work hard at everything because no one else is going to do it for them. As a parent in today’s world, we are bombarded with news that makes us scared shirtless, and since we can’t be there 100% of the time so we need to prepare them. Yes, we all recognize that kids need to play, learn social skills and learn to pick up after themselves (that one is going to be the death of me with these two princesses of mine). However, I think that this can be an important lesson for not only this 11 year old we’re talking about, but for other kids too. I think they should learn that they can stand up for themselves and fight unfair systems, not just take it until they move on in life. The missing school part doesn’t worry *me* too much (I assign extra homework, especially math), its more important to me to let the girls know that if their rights aren’t being protected (I keep bringing up the example of the Che Guevara shirt I’ve seen at the school), then they need to do something. Of course, once my child was kicked out of school, I’d keep them from wearing the shirt again, and *I* would sue the county. If that proved unsuccessful, I’d move my kids to a private school with a school uniform.

I just find it hard to believe that one parent would make such crass statements about another parent just because you disagree with their methodology. Your method was to just let the teachers teach what they would at the school and deal with it afterwards, this man took a more confrontational approach. I don’t see anything wrong with either.

…and by the looks and sounds of him, I say lucky to be a C student.

The fact that you deride the kid’s intelligence because of the way he looks and speaks makes me think I should dismiss any of your comments out of hand. This is why I would question someone being a parent, or perhaps that’s just snobbery?

BTW, do you think missing a couple of days of school is going to be problem? What happens when your kids get sick and miss school? They have to do make up work, big deal. The kid wasn’t suspended indefinitely (he mentions he’s not going to wear it again until November 4th –> and how many 11 year olds know that Nov. 4th is election day? I think this goes towards his education as a plus), so he probably only got suspended for the day.

Geministorm on September 24, 2008 at 8:58 AM

Would I have let my daughter wear that shirt to school?
No I would not have.There is plenty to debate about Obama’s
obvious lack of judgment and experience to become Commander
and Chief without having to take the Bill Maher route.
But that is mine and my wife’s personal opinions on our family,not judgment on whether it is right or wrong for somebody else to do it.


Geministorm on September 24, 2008 at 9:00 AM

“I don’t understand that much to have an opinion,” Daxx said. “I just follow my dad.”

“The idea that free speech is in someone else’s hands . . . is just something I am not going to tolerate,” Dalton said.

As I said, a stupida*s kid being used by his stupida*s father.

Dave Rywall on September 24, 2008 at 12:01 PM