Jena Six T-shirt at heart of new lawsuit

Oct. 10, 2007 at 8:01 PM

MURFREESBORO, Tenn., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- A mother in Smyrna, Tenn., has filed a lawsuit on behalf of her daughter, who was forced to remove a T-shirt supporting the so-called Jena Six.

In her lawsuit, Norma Super alleged that her daughter Danielle was told by her high school assistant principal to change out of a T-shirt that read "Free the Jena Six," the Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Post said Wednesday.

The Jena Six are the six black students currently facing charges in Jena, La., for allegedly beating up a white student.

The alleged assault came after several nooses were found hanging from a tree on school property.

Super alleged in the suit that the school official's decision to censor the teenager's clothing was a violation of her daughter's First and Fourteenth Amendment rights -- her free speech and due process, or fair procedure, rights.

Super is seeking compensatory damages for the incident, along with an injunction that would prevent similar events from occurring at the school.

A Rutherford County Schools spokesman has defended the official's decision, calling it a safety precaution.

"We believe the school acted properly and that will be proven in the end," spokesman James Evans told the Post. "The issue was about safety not free speech."

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