Free Speech Fabric

9 years 5 months 4 weeks ago March 28, 2007 Mar 28, 2007 Wednesday, March 28 2007 Wednesday, March 28, 2007 10:20:48 PM CDT in News

"I want Bogle gone," said one student.

"We were just trying to prove a point," added another. "The people who wear these wear them for a reason."

Those students believe the superintendent pressured former Principal Wayne Juliano to resign.

Juliano now spends his time at home or the family's gardening business. He said he resigned to prevent damage to his career.

"The vision I had for the school was not in line with the vision the superintendent had for the school."

Students told KOMU News, "Mr. Bogle was telling Mr. Juliano to do things he didn't want to."

"We felt he was more of a friend to us than what Mr. Bogle was being to all of us kids. He would like listen to us when we had to talk, he wouldn't say, like Bogle does, 'Get out of my office, we don't care.'"

But, seven students cared enough to have their t-shirts do the talking, with signatures from other students supporting them.

As students at Crocker High School exercised their free speech right, KOMU asked Superintendent Bogle to respond to what they were saying. He refused all requests for comment, saying it's a privacy issue.

But, the t-shirts are in plain view, and the public knows about them. KOMU received phone calls and e-mails supporting Bogle or criticizing Juliano. One said Juliano failed to command any respect from the vast majority of students or parents.

But, one student responded, "It was just to scare him, to get our principal to come back, and then it turned out we're fighting for our rights now."

The administration suspended four students for wearing their SAB t-shirts to school.

"They said, 'Change your shirt or leave.' I said, 'Well, I guess I'm leaving,'" recalled one student.

"When I got the phone call that they were suspended, I was like, 'Wow, they've been wearing these shirts for three days now.'"

So, Mark Crawford's mother, Yvonne, contacted the American Civil Liberties Union, which said it would sue the school if students couldn't wear their shirts. The ACLU cited a 1969 U.S. Supreme Court case, Tinker vs. Des Moines School District, which stated students could wear black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War.

"Vietnam was a much bigger scale, larger than what this is," said Juliano. "But, they're still voicing and protesting their disagreement with things. Students do not shed those rights when they enter the schoolhouse doors."

The day after the ACLU sent a letter to the superintendent, Yvonne Crawford said Bogle called the students back to school, with the shirts on their backs.

"I hope he stands up and sees that things need to change," she added. "The students' voices need to be heard."

Added one student, "We figured this is one way that we could do it, without saying stuff that could get us in trouble. I didn't think it was going to go this far, but it did. I'm kind of happy that it did, though. We're trying to protect our rights."

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