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Roseburg High Student Sent Home for Promoting Abstinence

Roseburg, OR-A Junior at Roseburg High School was ordered to go home to change his shirt or turn the shirt inside out, because it was deemed offensive and a violation of Roseburg School District Policy. What was so offensive on the shirt, you might ask?

The black long- sleeve tee-shirt was printed on the front with the words VIRGINITY ROCKS.

The student in question has requested that their name not be included in this article out of fear that the same school administration that sent him home to change, might retaliate if they discuss the issue further with the press.

Linda Jacobson, a local real estate broker, grandmother, and legal guardian of the “offending student” said after she posted the incident to FaceBook she has had over 100 responses, the vast majority of which she said are not only supportive of her grandchild’s position, and the student’s right to wear the shirt, but are outraged by the school’s actions. “I’m floored by the schools’ decision on this” said Jacobson.

When speaking with her grandson, she was told that he had asked a couple of teachers the week before he wore it to school if it would be okay. One told him they didn’t see any problem, the other said they’d have to see the shirt.

A week later when his shirt arrived, he was excited about the purchase he had made and proudly put it on and headed for school. On the day in question, Monday April 9, at about 7:30 AM, he asked first thing about his shirt and was told by Mr. Bogardus, Assistant Principal, that it was okay for him to wear it, while another teacher told him to go see Mrs. Weber, the Principal.

Principal Weber told him “absolutely not”. He was then given the option of turning it inside out, selecting a shirt from a sort of community bin, or going home to change. He went home and changed his shirt.

We contacted RHS to get a comment on the incident and the Principal, Jill Weber, was not available for comment, although she did send an e-mail later that evening citing that she couldn’t discuss the student’s attire but cited school district policy governing dress code.

We obtained a copy of the dress code on the districts website, which is document JFCA. The language from the “Student Dress and Grooming” code under section 1 e. states; “Dress and grooming shall not be such as to disrupt the teaching-learning process”. So the question being asked by the student’s family is how could the tee- shirt rise to the level of “disrupting the teaching process”?

Especially because the first class of the day had barely gotten underway, so there was no way to assert any disruptive effect, other than sending the student to the principal’s office.

Comments from parents and friends on Facebook include; “I think it is great and it takes a man to wear it”, “How disgraceful! I’ll bet if it said Abortion Rocks it would have been acceptable! This infuriates me!”, and one posted “There’s a kid who wears an “orgasm donor” shirt. Not sent home. That’s messed up.”

As to the “offensive shirt” which was ordered on-line for $30.00 from a company named Danny Duncan, it is a very simple design (see photo) with the slogan “Virginity Rocks” screen printed in gold lettering on the front of a long-sleeve black tee-shirt. It would appear this is a statement on the part of the person wearingthe shirt that sexual abstinence and moral purity is a desirable condition for any individual. But because the wearer in this case happened to be a 16 year old High School Junior, the statement also has special meaning as it upholds Oregon statutory law, which makes sexual activity, even if consensual, illegal under the age of 17.

The Roseburg High School motto on their letterhead reads “RHS is a place of opportunity to attain knowledge and become productive, independent citizens who live PRIDE (Positive, Respectful, Involved, Determined, and Encouraging)!” [Bold italics added for emphasis]

Some might ask whether the student in question, exercising their First Amendment rights, achieved every one of those qualities the school aspires to.