The first band T-shirt I ever purchased was a black and white Sex Pistols "Pretty Vacant" tee back in 1995. I was in the 7th grade. At the time, most kids just giggled at the word "Sex," having no idea who the most influential punk rock band of the era was (sorry Ramones, I wasn't buying it then and I'm not now, either); and the teachers certainly didn't appreciate the homage. But besides a few stink eyes, I was always allowed to sport it. So when news broke last night that a dozen or so Forks High School students were suspended for wearing their own Sex Pistols attire, I nearly dug up the ratty old shirt and turned it into a Molotov cocktail.
God Save The First Amendment
The next day, the students handed out Sex Pistols shirts to all that would wear them as a way of protesting what they felt was, at best, a lack of respect for a pioneering English punk band, or, at worst, a gross violation for their First Amendment rights.
It's not clear how many students were suspended. The school says around a dozen. The students say it was more like 25. The school is supposed to clear up the discrepancy today when it finishes a report on the whole affair.
The students, meanwhile, appear to be no slackers when it comes to researching and making their case.
They've taken to citing the landmark 1969 Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines, which ruled that students retain their constitutional rights while in school.
Whether the school will come out of this thing looking like anything other than ill-informed nit pickers seems unlikely. In most cases, when kids are kicked out of school for mildly controversial attire (see: rosary, gay T-shirt, American flag bandannas, rival school colors), it's the students that look like the patriots and the school that looks like the fascists.
But never mind those bollocks, these kids were just handed a newsworthy cause to rally behind and a way to paint the school as the villains they've likely always thought they were.
Kind of makes me wish I had got suspended for my shirt back in the day.