Apparently “freedom of speech” does not apply to students in public schools.
While I think maybe this kid should have thought a little more before wearing this on a day meant to show patriotism, and also wonder how much he was encouraged by his parents, he definitely should not have gotten suspended. As a future school counselor, I would have LOVED to have a “how do you feel about this”/”tell me more” conversation with this boy.
I just had another thought though. Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised that free speech has its limits. Freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of assemnly have also been redefined when in a government funded public school setting.
Current Conclusion (subject to change upon further introspective reflection and collaboration – that’s all I hear about these days): A person is not protected under the First Amendment at least until they finish high school. After that, well, it’s a case by case thing.