School has right to terminate unapproved student T-shirts

Our View

In the last week, an incident involving the selling of school T-shirts without school approval or going through a school organization led to much confusion and many rumors.

Though the issue has been cleared up and the facts presented (check the news article on the front page), there is still something to say on the matter. We at the Tiger Hi-Line believe that although students do have a right to freedom of speech (as journalists, we completely understand that) Cedar Falls High School is a public, government building that legally and constitutionally holds rights to restrict solicitation on its grounds

The Board of Education and the school have a printed policy restricting the selling of anything that is not through them. And, really, this is with good reason. Many T-shirts are made and sold, and they have turned out to be inappropriate (even if only by underlying meaning; for example: last year’s “If you can’t take a hit, stay off the grass” shirts).

If they’re not inappropriate, sometimes students never receive what they have paid for. A school policy is to protect the students. Just because we nearly live at the school doesn’t mean that we own it. It belongs to the district. Nor is it completely free of scams. There are over 1000 students — of course people will attempt to make profit off of others.

That’s another point administrators bring up — they’d prefer that any profits made from school events or activities benefit the school/activities/events in some way. A suggested usage is fireworks for homecoming. We believe that there is no problem with that. In fact, we think it is taking advantage of the school if a student were to collect profits from a school event without returning anything to Cedar Falls High.

However, we do recognize that profit or scams or inappropriateness are not the goal of many students trying to sell shirts. If they want to sell them to students, they can go through a school organization and the school will not stand in the way.

We agree that going through the right steps to achieve approval may be a little more work, but the reasons for the system are legitimate.

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