FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 15, 2007
LITTLE ROCK— In October 2006 the ACLU of Arkansas filed suit on behalf of students who the ACLU asserted were disciplined for wearing black armbands to protest the student apparel policy and its enforcement. The school claimed the students were suspended for violating the policy and not for expressing their disapproval of it. In an order issued on October 20, 2006, the Court found that the WCSD had violated the students' First Amendment rights when they suspended the students for wearing the armbands and issued a temporary order overturning the punishment the students received. At a hearing the week of September 10, 2007, the school district finally admitted that it did punish the students for protesting the school policy.
The ACLU lawsuit also contained a complaint against the student apparel policy itself and its arbitrary and capricious enforcement, and against the literature distribution policy, which required school administrationt to pre-review and approve of all student literature with no guidelines for approval or non-approval. The court held that the student apparel policy did not violate the First Amendment, because the intent of the school board in implementing the policy was not to prohibit speech, but it found that the literature policy was "probably unconstitutional."