Third Grader Mask Kerfuffle Revisited.

The other day we posted about a third grader in Pinola, Mississippi whose family is suing the school district over the district saying the child cannot wear a mask that says “Jesus Loves Me.”

Noted First Amendment law professor Eugene Volokh over at the Volokh Conspiracy has weighed in on the issue:

The policy, I think, is pretty clearly unconstitutional. Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District (1969) makes clear that such speech in K-12 schools can’t be banned unless it “materially disrupts classwork or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others,” and there seems to be no reason to think that this mask would qualify. And though content-neutral and viewpoint-neutral dress codes are generally viewed as constitutional, the Fifth Circuit (where Mississippi is located) has made clear that

Seems like a strong case; I look forward to reading (and perhaps blogging about) the district’s response when it comes in.

We agree with Volokh that the District is in trouble in this case.

However, what caught our eye was two early comments:

We agree.

There is a doctrine of “qualified immunity” that normally applies to police in the case of doing their jobs. Police are not held accountable unless they know or should know that what they are doing is wrong. We disagree with that on many levels, but the fact is that if we don’t even apply “qualified immunity” to school districts and their employees and by extension, hold them financially accountable for their actions. Because of that, they continue to act contrary to the laws of the land. TThe aggrieved party not only has to pay for a lawsuit to have their rights protected but at the same time, pay taxes to defend the illegal actions of school employees.

If the aggrieved party wins, they get paid by taxpayer funds which takes money away from education.

The people in the school district who committed the wrong face no consequences for the deprivation of the rights of their students.

The school district and their employees should have known that this policy and their enforcement was illegal. Let them, and not the taxpayers or kids, pay the costs.

The other comment that made us laugh is this one:

It’s sarcastic, but it makes a point.

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