T-SHIRTS BANNED IN OHIO SCHOOL

Administrators at Willis Intermediate Middle School are seeking to completely deny Freedom of Expression to students through their T-shirt slogans of choice. A previous ban on T-shirts with satanic messages and pictures provoked an outcry from the student body regarding other students wearing T-shirts depicting Christian slogans. Rather than respecting the First Amendment rights of the entire student body by lifting the restriction, school administrators extended the ban to include the Christian slogans as well, thus denying Freedom of Expression across the board in an attempt to be able to claim "fairness" as justification. By saying that "fairness" is achieved by trashing Constitutionally guaranteed rights for all instead of just a few is an INCREDIBLE fallacy that must be fought.

The reality of this situation from the ROCK OUT CENSORSHIP perspective is that the entire student body is now subjected to having their First Amendment rights tossed out the window because of the administration's desire to weed out anything provoking controversy. Both the satanic messages *AND* the Christian messages should be allowed to be expressed by the students as they choose and the administration should make no attempts to try to impose a homogenizing, speech restricting, un-Constitutional rule such as they have.

When the government is attempting to strip one group of their rights it is often tempting to cite another (possibly worse) group as evidence of the hypocrisy of their efforts. For instance, when they attempt to censor TV violence, often the first reaction is "Well how come you don't go after the 6:00 news, that's violent." We urge all of our readers to NEVER fall victim to this kind of logic in the future. Instead of achieving the desired effect of bringing reason back into the argument, more often the censors will simply say, "OK, we'll compromise and censor both of them" when our point was meant to be to not censor anything. In this case, the children wearing the so-called "satanic" T-shirts accomplished nothing by resorting to pointing fingers at the children with Christian messages other than getting both groups censored. The proper argument is and always must be that, by the US Constitution, government has no right to censor free expression, and that there is no age clause to the First Amendment that makes exceptions that allow student's Free Speech rights to be trampled within the school environment. Case closed. No "but what about them, how come they can do this, but we can't?" Such a reaction will only encourage government to act further and actually serves to create a situation where the issue is actually up for debate. This is not a debatable issue, as the First Amendment is quite clear.

We urge all our readers to contact the administration at Willis Intermediate Middle School to voice your disapproval of this unconstitutional policy. We will find contact a contact address, phone number, and e-mail address as soon as possible. Hopefully, with enough protest mail coming in, these administrators will back down from this un-American decision they have made.

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