School uniform dispute sent to district court
February 15, 2014
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday sent the dispute over a Washoe elementary school’s mandatory uniforms back to district court.
Mary and Jon Frudden sued, arguing the motto “Tomorrow’s Leaders” on the uniforms as well as the exemption for “nationally recognized youth organizations such as the Boy Scouts” created First Amendment violations of their children’s rights.
The 9th Circuit panel ruled that the case involving the uniforms at Roy Gomm Elementary School in Reno is different from the Clark County uniforms case it settled in 2008 because of those two factors.
The Clark County case survived First Amendment scrutiny because there were no mottos on the uniform shirts and no exemptions for groups such as the Boy Scouts.
“Had the (Gomm) uniforms consisted of plain colored tops and bottoms as in (the Clark County case), (Gomm) would have steered clear of any First Amendment concerns,” the opinion says.
The Fruddens said the exemption explicitly favors the Boy and Girl Scout uniforms over other uniforms such as those of the youth soccer organization.
However, the court said neither side fully fleshed out those arguments at the district court level because the court granted the school district’s motion to dismiss.
The 9th Circuit panel ordered the case back to District Judge Robert Clive Jones to fill out the record on those issues and rule whether the uniforms and exemption policies violate constitutional rights of the Frudden children.
Carson City’s middle-schoolers are required to wear uniforms; they don’t bear mottos or slogans. Last year, a school uniform policy was proposed for Carson High School, then was delayed amid complaints.