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Canady v. Bossier Parish School Board, 240 F.3d 437 (5th Cir. 2001)

Facts:

In the 1998-1999 school year, a Louisiana parish school board decided to implement a mandatory school uniform policy. The school board believed the uniform policy would improve the educational process by reducing disciplinary problems. Several parents of students challenged the new dress code on First Amendment grounds. The school presented evidence that, since the adoption of the uniform policy, academic performance increased and discipline problems declined. A district court rejected the parents' lawsuit. The parents then appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Issue:

Whether a mandatory school uniform policy violates students' First Amendment rights.

Holding:

In a 3-0 decision, a Fifth Circuit panel held that adjusting the school's dress code by adopting a uniform policy is a constitutional means for school officials to improve the educational process if it is not directed at censoring the expressive content of student clothing.

Reasoning:

The school board uniform policy in this case was passed to improve the educational process by increasing test scores and reducing discipline problems. "This purpose is in no way related to the suppression of student speech," the panel wrote. "Although students are restricted from wearing clothing of their choice at school, students remain free to wear what they want after school hours."

Majority:

"The uniform requirement does not bar the important 'personal intercommunication among students' necessary to an effective educational process." (Judge Robert M. Parker)



Last updated: Friday, November 16, 2018 | 20:11:07