Students in Minnesota are facing expulsion and being banned from their classrooms for wearing buttons referring to Eve Ensler’s play “The Vagina Monologues.” Buttons stating “I (heart) my vagina” (and the boys’ version, “I support your vagina” — which could have been worded in much poorer taste, considering) are at the heart of the debate.
School officials say the buttons are offensive.
“We support free speech,” Winona HS principal Nancy Wondrasch said. “But when it does infringe on other people’s rights and our school policies, then we need to take a look at that.”
Minnesota ACLU leader Charles Samuelson said he thinks the school leaders might be curtailing the girls’ free speech rights. While he agrees school officials can limit speech considered detrimental or dangerous, he points to a 1969 Supreme Court ruling. In that school First Amendment case, justices ruled administrators’ fear about how others might react is not enough to squelch rights.
“Free speech is a messy thing,” Samuelson said. “People need to understand that opinions that they are not comfortable with, or even opinions they disagree with, need to be allowed.”
Story at In-Forum.