Palmerton Area High School

Students punished for wearing t-shirts critical of school dress code

Attorneys/Firms: Valerie Burch, Witold Walczak, Mary Catherine Roper (ACLU-PA)

10/6/09 - At the request of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, the Palmerton Area School District (Carbon County) has agreed to clear the disciplinary records of 20 high school students who wore "Property of PHS [Palmerton Area High School]" t-shirts to class to protest a new school dress code. The students will also be allowed to make up school work missed because of the school's disciplinary action and to wear their shirts in the future without fear of retaliation.

On September 15, 2009, the day of a Palmerton Area School District board meeting, approximately forty Palmerton Area High School students wore "Property of PHS" t-shirts to school. The shirts were part of a protest of student dress code policies that prohibit body piercings and "non-typical" hair color. The principal called the students into the cafeteria and gave them the option to change shirts, serve an in-school suspension, or leave school grounds and receive an unexcused absence and receive zeros for school work missed that day. Twenty students took the option of in-school suspension or an unexcused absence.

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