Summary: Guardanapo v. Washoe County School District, et al. is a federal First Amendment constitutional challenge to the Washoe County School District’s over-broad “no weapons” dress code policy as well as on viewpoint and content-based discrimination grounds. The plaintiff, an 8thgrade student at Kendyl Depoali Middle School, was disciplined for engaging “in a respectful, silent, and peaceful expression of his political views” by wearing a Firearms Policy Coalition t-shirt to school. The shirt invokes the constitution and themes dating back to the American Revolution, with the words “Don’t Tread On Me” and a coiled rattlesnake (familiar elements of the Gadsden flag) flanked by references to the United States of America (“USA”) and the Second Amendment (“2A”). While it also includes the words “Firearms Policy Coalition,” there are no depictions of firearms or weapons of any kind on the shirt. Shortly after the plaintiff was disciplined for wearing FPC’s pro-gun rights shirt, students at the school participated in the National School Walkout, a formal, organized protest calling for expansive new gun control measures.
Related: The FPF and FPC guide to pro-gun student speech, “K-12 Schools, Free Speech, and the Fundamental, Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms: A Guide to How Students Can Use Their First Amendment Rights to Defend and Promote Second Amendment Rights,” is available for free at www.k12speech.com.
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Individual Plaintiffs/Petitioners: G.M, by and through his next friends and parents, Audrey Guardanapo and Shaun Guardanapo.
Defendants: Washoe County School District; Kendyl Depoali Middle School; and Joye Ancina, in her official capacity as Principal of Kendyl Depoali Middle School
Supported by: Firearms Policy Coalition; Firearms Policy Foundation
Litigation Counsel: David O’Mara; Bradley Benbrook; Stephen Duvernay; Prof. Eugene Volokh
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