ACLU: Colonial Forge Violating Student’s Right to Free Speech, Banana Man Controversy Grows

The controversy surrounding Banana Man and the reaction by Colonial Forge High School and the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is growing ever louder by the minute.

Students across the area, in a show of solidarity, have been wearing yellow t-shirts or other apparel in support of Brian Thompson (a.k.a. Banana Man) – you know the student who was handcuffed and placed in a police car for running down the sidelines during halftime of a high school football game in a banana suit.

The ACLU of Virginia believes that “the school’s actions appear to violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

Based on our understanding of the facts, it appears that some students at your school have strong feelings about the discipline of a fellow student, and that they have chosen to express those feelings in a passive, non-disruptive manner. We ask that you respect their constitutional right to free speech.

You can view the full letter here.

The Free-Lance Star spoke to a Colonial Forge Student, Tizrah Rao, who had her t-shirt confiscated yesterday by an assistant principal and her First Amendment rights violated. The shirt simply read, “Free the banana man.”

So today she wore a t-shirt that simply read, “Free speech.” The result was somewhat similar, although it appears that she was able to keep her shirt and just had to change into a different one.

The way she and many others have been treated by the school is outrageous and illegal!

Wearing t-shirts isn’t the only way that students and community members are showing their support. I caught up with a recent graduate of Stafford High School today who was riding around town on a scooter in a banana costume. He believes that the treatment of this student is outrageous and has joined a growing majority in Stafford County who want Banana Man freed!

To help free Banana Man, sign our online petition here.

 

Posted in 2011 Election, Education, Local Politics, Stafford County, Stafford County Schools, Stafford County Sheriff's Office Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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