Ryan Green, a 15-year-old Jewish student in Mississippi, plans to sue the local school board for denying him the right to wear the Star of David. The board claims the Star could be considered a gang symbol, which are banned from school grounds. The ACLU will file suit on behalf of Ryan.
Upon hearing of the lawsuit and the national media attention, the school board agreed to revisit the issue at the next school board meeting. However, the ACLU dismissed this token gesture and will ask the court to grant an injunction, which will temporarily suppress the board’s action and thereby allow Ryan to wear his religious symbol until his case is complete.
Ryan’s fight with the government began when a government teacher told him to put his Star of David pin inside his shirt for “his own good.” After discussing the issue with his father, Ryan wore the pin the next day and this time a teacher told him to remove it. The issue eventually reached the school board, which decided last Monday that the Star could be considered a gang symbol. However, the board does not ban crucifixes.
|Government schools usually get away with anti-Semitic policies because they have a virtual monopoly on education.
The board’s blatant anti-Semitism and ignorance of free expression prompted Ryan to file the lawsuit. According to his lawyer, Ryan “wanted to do this, not only for himself but others who might be affected by the policy in the future.” Those “others” are you and every other student caught in government schools.
Government schools usually get away with anti-Semitic policies because they have a virtual monopoly on education. Often the fear of retribution during and after a court case convinces students to endure abusive government workers until graduation. Occasionally, Libertarian Rockstars, such as Ryan, fight for their dignity, which is more important than obtaining recommendations from a few teachers. (Ideally, students such as Ryan may attract the attention of the few teachers who value freedom).
Even without an actual trial, Ryan’s lawsuit prompted the school board to revisit the issue, proving that even the threat of a lawsuit can force school officials to abide by the Constitution. The media attention also had a great impact. If you decide to threaten your government school with a lawsuit, be sure to contact the media. For Ryan’s case, the ACLU’s press release led to stories across the country.
Imagine if only Ryan, and the rest of us, lived in a true capitalist and free market society in which only private companies would sell education. Then if some of those private educational companies chose not to allow the display of religious symbols, another private company would immediately advertise its acceptance of all denominations. Jewish students and those who support religious tolerance would vote with their money and their feet by freely treading into more tolerant schools. It’s up to you to make it happen Rockstars!