Case Study: Rebel Prom Dress (2004)
Students use a case study about a student’s prom dress patterned after the Confederate flag as the foundation for a debate on the First Amendment in schools.
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- In advance, review the case study and background.
- Pass out copies of the case study and have students discuss it in small groups. Tell the groups they should attempt to come to a consensus about which position they will take.
- Ask the groups to share out their choice and reasoning.Use the questions below to guide discussions.
- Copies of the case study handout (download), one per student
- What First Amendment right is at issue in this case?
- Why might the Confederate battle flag be considered offensive?
- Who might object to Jacqueline’s evening gown?
- Jacqueline attended a predominantly white school. Would it make a difference if the school were more diverse?
- If someone at your school wanted to wear a Confederate-themed dress to prom, what do you think would happen?
- What if the gown had foreign flags, political slogans, a gay pride rainbow, or a Nazi swastika on it? Would your answer change for any of these symbols? Why or why not?
- Should words or actions ever be banned? When/under what conditions?