Lawsuit over school ban on Black Lives Matter shirts dismissed

Protesters hold up fists at a gathering in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in the aftermath of the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in police custody in the US. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

A federal judge agreed Friday to dismiss a lawsuit that had accused a Georgia school district of racial discrimination, including for barring students from wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts.

The dismissal was requested by attorneys for students who filed the complaint in U.S. District Court in Savannah. The attorneys said they are new to the case and plan to file a new version of the complaint later.

The original lawsuit alleged the district’s unfair application of its dress code is part of a broader pattern of discrimination and "deliberate indifference to acts of racial animosity" that violate the civil rights of Black students.

School administrators in Effingham County have cited a districtwide policy prohibiting clothing that "may contribute to disruption," the lawsuit says, to keep students from wearing Black Lives Matter shirts.

One of the student plaintiffs was denied entry to a high school football game because she wore a Black Lives Matter shirt, the lawsuit said. It alleges that white students in the school district regularly wear shirts printed with Confederate flags.

The lawsuit listed as plaintiffs three unnamed Black teenagers who attend high school in Effingham County, where 65,000 people live in rural and suburban communities west of Savannah. The original complaint was filed by the mother of one of the teens acting as their attorney.