Listening to: MC Luscious
An 11th grade student was recently told to remove her bumper sticker from her car parked in the Walla Walla High School (WA) parking lot. The content of the sticker: “I Fucked Your Boyfriend.” There was little controversy about the student’s expression until she was told by school officials to remove the bumper sticker or face suspension. She kept the sticker, and was suspended.
The Walla Walla School Board’s official “Freedom of Expression” policy states that “students are strictly prohibited from the use of vulgar and/offensive terms in the classroom or assembly settings.” (Emphasis added.) It goes on to say that the superintendent may develop further policy that assures “freedom of opinion while maintaining orderly conduct of the school.” While school officials may find the content of the bumper sticker inappropriate or even “vulgar and/or offensive,” the student’s car was simply parked in the school parking lot: it was not displayed in a classroom or assembly setting, and it did not disrupt the “orderly conduct” of the school. In fact, not only does the school policy appear not to prohibit a bumper sticker on a car, it actually implies that this kind of expression is permitted.