Students have long had the right to express themselves at school. On February 24, 1969, in the legendary Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that students have fundamental rights like the rest of us, including when they are in the classroom. The Court even stated that the classroom is a place where ideas are exchanged and students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the school house gate.” This legendary verdict is often brought up in Arizona juvenile defense law.
So flash forward 42 years. In September of 2011, a 14-year-old was suspended for 10 days and is now facing a year-long expulsion term for putting on a banana costume and running around in it during halftime of the school’s football game. The student, who has diagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome, has been in trouble with the school before, first, for having a cell phone in class and second, for starting a website where students could post silly pictures of themselves. In protest of Bryan’s suspension, students wore “Free Banana Man” t-shirts to school which the school then banned and confiscated. The local ACLU where this is all taking place says this is a violation of that famous Tinker ruling. Will above verdict in juvenile defense law come into play?
Many other AZ juvenile defense legal questions come into play here. Is it surprising that the student was suspended for doing this? Should he be expelled? Should his autism diagnosis make a difference? Does the punishment fit the crime? Is the school right to silence the protest of the other students?
If your child or someone you know has ever been in a situation like this where they were charged with a crime that seems extreme for the act, please contact Naegle & Crider Criminal Defense Attorneys and schedule your free consultation about your Arizona juvenile defense case. Students and parents often don’t realize the damage having a criminal record as a juvenile can do down the road and they deserve an attorney defending their future and their best interests. Schools also should be held in check and kept from bullying students into punishments that don’t necessarily fit the crime. The prosecutors are never on the child’s side although that might be the picture they paint at first.
Contact Arizona juvenile defense attorney, Charlie Naegle, with any questions about a juvenile court case in Arizona. More about juvenile defense law in Arizona can be found here. We look forward to speaking with you and working with you in the future. To schedule a free, consultation regarding the defense of a juvenile, with Arizona juvenile defense attorney, Charlie Naegle, call 480-245-5550 or use the contact form below.