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Tenn. student forced to change 'Free the Jena Six' T-shirt

By The Associated Press
10.10.07

NASHVILLE — A student is suing her suburban Nashville school district for the right to wear a T-shirt with the words "Free the Jena Six," a reference to the black students in a Louisiana town accused of beating a white classmate.

According to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Nashville last week, Danielle Super came in to school late on Sept. 20 after having attended a march.

As she was waiting for her mother to sign her in, Smyrna High School assistant principal Jolene Watson told her she could not come into the school wearing the Jena Six T-shirt because it could "cause a problem."

After protesting the order, Super went home, changed shirts and returned to school, the complaint states.

Super is seeking an injunction against the school that would allow her to wear the T-shirt. The complaint also asks for damages, although it does not specify an amount.

Rutherford County Schools spokesman James Evans said the only comment he was authorized to make on the pending litigation was that "we don't believe the school is in the wrong, and we are confident this will play out in our favor."

The T-shirt refers to six black students in Jena, La., accused of beating a white student unconscious in December. The attack followed months of racial tensions after three white students were suspended, but not prosecuted, for hanging nooses from a tree on school grounds.

The case has garnered national attention and drawn protests from thousands, including civil rights activists such as Jesse Jackson. David Bowie donated to the teens' defense fund, and rocker John Mellencamp has written a song about the incident.


Related

La. high school bans 'Free the Jena 6' T-shirts

Administrators say disruption caused by shirts supporting six black students accused of beating white schoolmate — not the shirts themselves — was reason for ban. 08.30.07

Jena, La., rally harkens back to civil rights era marches

But unlike landmark protests of ‘50s and ‘60s, demonstration to support six black teenagers has festive, laid-back air. 09.21.07

News groups seek access to Jena 6 case records
Challenging judge's decision to seal case involving Louisiana black teen accused of battery, news outlets petition to cover hearings, review transcripts. 10.25.07

Jena 6 teen's case must be open, La. court rules
Judge sides with news media, says all proceedings against Mychal Bell should be public even though he is being tried as a juvenile. 11.29.07

Judge in Jena 6 case keeps records closed
J.P. Mauffray says plea agreement, other files will remain sealed while he appeals court order that opened hearings, documents in Mychal Bell's case. 12.11.07

Pa. school disciplines student for wearing gun T-shirt
Family files federal free-speech lawsuit after Donald Miller refuses to turn 'Volunteer Homeland Security' shirt inside-out. 03.13.08

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