“Free the Jena Six” Shirts Banned From Schools

<P>After the recent highly racialized events in Jena, Louisiana, high school and college students around the United States have shown their support for the black students in Jena by wearing various “Free the Jena Six” t-shirts. Although this is seen as innocent by some, school officials at several schools around the country have viewed the shirts as “disruptive” and as potentially causing conflict on their campuses. Thus, in late August a group of Jena High School students were banned by Jena High School from wearing to school shirts that voice support for the six accused students. According to an MSNBC Report, Roy Breithaupt, the local school superintendent, banned the shirts, stating that the slogan on the shirts might cause school problems.

Other schools around the country are following a similar path in not allowing students to wear the Jena-support shirts to school. Recently, a student in Tennessee was not allowed to enter the school while wearing her “Free the Jena Six” shirt. According to a school administrator, the shirt could “cause a problem.” It is important to mention in both of these cases, there are no standard uniforms to be worn to these schools. The Tennessee student is currently in the process of appealing this decision.�


  1. Blair

    If the school permitted students to wear “Free the Jena Six” T-shirts it would also have to permit students to wear “Jail the Jena Six” T-shirts. The school is worried that the clashing T-shirts could result in fights between students who view the Jena Six as heroes and students who view them as schoolyard bullies who step over the live once too often. Most states have enacted laws that give school grounds special status as protected area. The courts will probably ruled that school’s have a right to ban T-shirts that might prove disruptive.

  2. Lou Author

    Blair, I agree with you on certain points and you bring up some really good issues that we do not discuss too often in public discourse. But, where do we draw the line of free speech? You are right; some shirts can be offensive, but do shirts advocating a political cause for justice cause harm?

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