Deconstructing the Obama jacket/Pineville school incident

January 7, 2009

Lamar White, sharp political observer from Alexandria and author of the CenLamar blog, weighs in on the ongoing controversy over a Pineville student who was asked by school administrators not to wear a jacket featuring the image of President-Elect Barack Obama. Read all of Lamar’s post here, but this is a particularly astute section to consider:

Apparently, Columbus Goodman, the Principal of Pineville Junior High and an African-American, somehow allowed himself to believe that a student wearing a jacket with an over-sized picture of the next President of the United States, Barack Obama, violated the dress code. The Town Talk reports on the School Board’s policy:

According to the policy, “Printing, emblems and/or insignia that discredit the country or its institutions, that are disruptive or vulgar, or whose interpretations by school officials are considered to be disruptive, that are disruptive or vulgar or to have double meaning will not be worn.”

Again, with all due respect to the School Board, how is this even an issue? Why is this frontpage news? More importantly, how could any principal, regardless of their race or their personal political philosophy, believe that the image of the President-elect is either disruptive or vulgar?

Ironically, the policy specifically provides that students cannot wear anything that discredits “the country or its institutions,” yet Mr. Goodman would have us believe that a jacket recognizing and honoring the institution of the American Presidency is somehow vulgar and disruptive.

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