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Legal Memorandum: Dress Policy and Student's Civil Rights

Issue: Whether a school’s dress policy prohibiting the wearing of headgear on school grounds or other gang-related clothing or symbols violates a student’s civil rights.

Area of Law: Constitutional Law, Education Law
Keywords: Student's civil rights; Promotion of school interest; Wearing of headgear or gang-related clothing
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 40 F. Supp. 2d 335; 795 A.2d 630; 827 F. Supp. 1459; 110 F.3d 1303; 976 F. Supp. 659
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 10/01/2005

The following authorities are relevant to this issue:

Isaacs v. Board of Educ. of Howard County, 40 F. Supp. 2d 335 (D. Md. 1999) (school “no-hats” policy prohibiting student from wearing African headwrap to school did not violate student’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights and promotes important school interest in “providing a safe, respectful school environment that is conducive to education and learning.”).

Jeglin v. San Jacinto Unified Sch. Dist., 827 F. Supp. 1459 (C.D. Cal. 1993) (school dress code prohibiting students from wearing clothing identifying a particular professional sports team violated student’s First Amendment rights in absence of proof of gang-related activities associated with such clothing).

Byars v. City of Waterbury, 795 A.2d 630 (Conn. Super. Ct. 2001) (school dress policy prohibiting students from wearing blue jeans to school does not violate students’ constitutional rights as it was rationally related “to the purpose of reducing disruptions, arguments, thefts and loss of instructional time”).

Jackson v. C. R. Dorrier, 424 F.2d 213 (6th Cir. 1970) (school policy prohibiting male students from wearing long hair in school did not violate the students’ constitutional rights under the circumstances as the students were afforded due process and the school bore the “responsibility for maintaining proper standards of decorum and discipline and a wholesome academic environment at high school”).

Stephenson v. Davenport Comm. Sch. Dist., 110 F.3d 1303 (8th Cir. 1997) (School district’s regulation prohibiting gang symbols […]

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