Student ejected from ceremony for graduating while black

Hey, they probably thought it was a Muslim Terrorist cloth.



There’s nothing wrong with trying to enforce rules (if there is a rule against this). The misdeed was using jackbooted thugs to do the enforcement that the administration couldn’t do.

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We have a rule that specifically allows Mr. Holmes to wear his kente.


If Americans are allowed to exercise their freedoms, the terrorists win!



I don’t think you’ll find all that much agreement with this, as it relates to this story, or as a universal truth, around these parts.


Reminds me of kid who got suspended wearing a Pepsi t-shirt on Coke Day.


“Student ejected from ceremony for graduating while black.”

Uh-huh. I see. So it is Boingboing’s position that a white student who refused to take off such a cloth – or similar adornment – would not have been kicked out.

Right. Got it.

//As far as creds go, let me note that I think it’s a dumb policy, and the kid should have been allowed to wear it. But as far as crying RAYYYCCISSTTT!! about almost literally everything, man – what a warped view of the world.


I don’t think Tinker applies, it was addressing officials blocking students from wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam war:

The Court held that for school officials to justify censoring speech, they “must be able to show that [their] action was caused by something more than a mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint,” allowing schools to forbid conduct that would “materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.”

Basically you can ban stuff as long as you’re viewpoint neutral and have some valid motive. So they’re allowed to have a policy that says you’re not allowed to wear other garments over your graduation gown as long as it’s being applied fairly and wasn’t invented just to avoid kente cloths. The motive could be they want an orderly graduation without a lot of fuss over all the random stuff people are trying to customize their gowns with.


It’s wrong to enforce rules that shouldn’t exist … so, yeah, about that. :laughing:

Tinker has been taken repeatedly as precedent in case law for any number of things. There’s no reason to doubt that the courts would see a specific, non-hateful cultural expression as being less protected than a protest against the Vietnam war.

If the school can’t manage to write rules that prevent kids from “tricking out their sweet sweet graduation robes” without sending cops to eject a kid for wearing a kente cloth, then maybe they’d just better prepare to deal with a bunch of kids “tricking out their sweet sweet graduation robes.” :expressionless:

To any kids in the audience, I suggest flame decals, a non-functional spoiler, and running lights. :smiley:


This has come up relating to religious garb, military uniforms, and expressive decoration of cap-and-gown at HS graduations, and my recollection is that just as in the recent GRIFFITH v. CANEY VALLEY PUBLIC SCHOOLS case the conclusion in federal courts has in every case been that Tinker doesn’t apply and that the school can restrict what may be worn with the cap and gown for graduation.


So they ejected him from the ceremony because of his ethnicity. Not because he did not get prior approval for his Kente cloth, then refused to remove it, and told and administrator that he was going to walk across the stage wearing it despite the rules. He was ejected for his skin color. I did not see the part where other African American students were ejected as well, in a school that has an 18% African American student body.
I do not personally see why such an adornment should be a problem. I do see why this article headline is deceptive and clickbaity. I guess we should be optimistic that many of these reports need to either omit or modify key facts to generate the desired level of outrage.


It worked, though; you clicked, you commented. (So did I, just to tell you that.)


I know. but I read pretty much all of the articles on this site anyway. There is really no need for TMZ style headlines.


The headline’s misleading, but the story is about a black student wearing a kente cloth at a graduation ceremony who was told to remove it, refused, and had three sheriffs brought in to punt him. If you’d like to provide a story of, say, a Jew who refused to remove their yarmulke, or a white person who refused to remove their cashmere sweater draped over their shoulders and had law enforcement officers brought in to remove them, to show equal treatment I’d be quite interested to hear about it. While I can’t prove racism, the response (“the black kid is disobeying our authority, call the police”) certainly smells racist.


It’s their site, which is free for us to use; so it’s their choice as to how they word their posts and the titles thereof.

Additionally, I’ve noticed that many social networking sites do the same.

(from the linked court decision)
the school submits that the policy allows it to “convey[] one last message of […] respect for authority”

Sounds legitimate - the school is trying to teach them that they should never have respect for authority again. It is a school’s job to teach.

Still, getting the police involved is ridiculous unless the student is being violent or something. A frowny paragraph in their letter of recommendation or something would be more appropriate.


problem is, remember bonghits4jesus? the supreme court apparently thinks schools are a first amendment-free zone, at least when it comes to “drugs”… i’m sure they’d find a way to fit this case into that ruling.

I remember. Ghana is a specific place with a specific, not particularly drug centered culture. This is not bonghits4jesus. And SCOTUS implying it was would be overtly racist.


Every year there is a story like these where people don’t adhere to the dress code and are kicked out.

I can’t recall there being a dress code at mine, but probably…