Student sues for right to wear Confederate clothing

SOUTH CAROLINA– A 15-year-old high school student is suing a school district fordisciplining her when she tried to wear clothing that featured the Confederateflag.

Attorneys for Candice Hardwick, a sophomore at Latta HighSchool in Latta, S.C., filed suit Thursday in a federal court against her schooldistrict, alleging that Hardwick was unfairly punished for wearing t-shirts thatbore images of the Confederate flag.

”The school was denyingher freedom of speech,” said Roger McCredie, director of the SouthernLegal Resource Center, which is representing Hardwick and her family in thecase.

According to a press release, the Southern Legal ResourceCenter is a civil rights legal organization based in Black Mountain, N.C., thataddresses cases that deal with Southern heritage and culture.

In apress release, the school district said Hardwick’s wearing of theConfederate flag ”disrupted the education environment.”

Confederate flags have sparked racial tension among districtstudents in the past, the press release said.

John Kirby,superintendent of the Latta School District, said Hardwick was disciplined forviolating the portion of the school’s dress code that prohibits ”thewearing of any articles of clothing or other items which may foreseeably disruptor interfere with the school environment.”

In an article inThe Charlotte Observer, Harwick saidshe was forced to change clothes or turn her shirt inside-out when wearingclothing that featured the Confederate flag. She said when she attended LattaMiddle School, she was suspended twice for wearing the shirts and threatenedwith being kicked off the school’s track team.

The shirts did not feature anything ”profane or objectionable,” McCredie said.

According to the press release from the Southern Legal ResourceCenter, Hardwick’s lawsuit seeks to change the school’s dress codepolicy, expunge her disciplinary record and obtain unspecified monetary damagesfor her experiences.