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Defoe v. Spiva, 09-6080

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Suit challenging school district's decision banning displays of the Confederate flag in public schools

Defoe v. Spiva, 09-6080, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, in plaintiffs' suit against a county, a school board and other individuals, claiming that the banning of displays of the Confederate flag in the schools violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

In affirming the judgment, the court held that the school officials reasonably forecast that permitting displays of the Confederate flag would result in substantial disruption of, or material interference with, the school environment.  The court also held that the plaintiffs' viewpoint discrimination argument is without merit.  Lastly, the court held that the dress code's provision banning displays of racially divisive symbols, and its application to the Confederate flag, is narrowly tailored to the state and school district's substantial interest in educating students in the public school system.

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