London Piglowski, a 13-year-old St. Charles County Missouri resident was threatened with suspension by the Wentzville School District for wearing a sweatshirt that said Virginity Rocks to school after being told to flip the sweatshirt around or take it off. According to Piglowski his social studies teacher pulled him out of class and took him to the principal’s office. Piglowski agreed to take off his sweatshirt which was a birthday gift from a friend.
According to the Wentzville School District their policy gives administrators the authority to address student attire that has the potential to be disruptive to the educational environment. The policy does not allow for illegal, immoral, sexual or violent behavior to be advocated in any form. Piglowski’s parents argue that his sweatshirt was in compliance with the policy and the sweatshirt does not advocate any illegal, immoral, sexual or violent behavior. One commenter said that they would not want to see it at a school in which there are 10-11yr olds who are not prepared for those conversations yet. There was also an incident late last year involving a student of the Chetek-Weyerhaeuser school district in the state of Wisconsin that was suspended for wearing a similar type sweatshirt that said Virginity Rocks. Sophomore Thomas Willsui was suspended from school when he refused a request from the Vice-principal to turn his shirt inside out. Like the Wentzville School District, the Chetek-Weyerhaeuser school district school dress code does not allow clothing with offensive, obscene or profane markings, and clothes that display anything with sexual connotations. Willusi stated that the message on his sweatshirt was positive and its something he wanted to promote. Willusi was told by school administrators that he was allowed to wear the sweatshirt to school events but not in the school itself.
Danny Duncan a YouTube star and prankster is credited with developing the Virginity Rocks brand. According to Mr. Duncan he started wearing the shirts in his video’s as a joke. He believes most people wear it humorously but is proud that it has caught on with the pro-abstinence crowd.
Freedom of speech is protected by law. Under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Congress is prohibited from passing a law which abridges the freedom of speech. Through the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the 1st Amendment has been made to applicable to the State’s and local governments. The writing on the sweatshirts are clearly speech. That being said, the U.S. Supreme Court has stated that a student’s right to freedom of speech and expression can be subordinated to legitimate educational goals. What this means is that while a student does have a right to freedom of speech in a school setting it cannot interfere with the educational mission of the school.
The question is would a sweatshirt which states Virginity Rocks interfere in the educational mission of the school? It is not known at this time if the parents of London Piglowski or Thomas Willsui at this time are taking any legal action against the respective school districts.