NOT A HICKEY-FREEMAN SUIT, BUT ….
By Ed Stout
I was cleaning out some drawers at the house the other day and look what I found. It’s suit papers I had drafted during my senior year at FHS. I didn’t file these pleadings, probably because I didn’t have the $50 or so to cover the federal court filing fee. Who knows what might have happened if I had done so? In any event, I thought I’d share the contents of the document. It reads as follows:
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO:
EDWARD G. STOUT, )
V. ) Civil Action #
FAIRVIEW HIGH SCHOOL,
Comes now the Plaintiff, Edward G. Stout, pro se, who on this 29th day of February, 1965, brings this cause of action against Defendant Fairview High School. In support of his complaint, Plaintiff states and alleges as follows:
1. Plaintiff Edward G. Stout resides at 24 West Melford Avenue, Dayton, Ohio. Plaintiff is a sixteen year old citizen of the state of Ohio.
2. Defendant Fairview High School is an educational institution located at the intersection of Philadelphia Drive and Hillcrest Avenue in the City of Dayton, County of Montgomery, Ohio.
3. Defendant’s administrator and Principal is Miss Teresa Folger. Plaintiff, upon information and belief, alleges that she, as will be shown below, may have conspired with one Norman Feuer, to deprive Plaintiff and others of their constitutional rights.
4. At all relevant times hereto, Defendant Fairview High School and its agents were acting under the color of state law and in willful and knowing violation of Plaintiff’s constitutional rights guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
5. Jurisdiction of this Court is founded under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
6. Plaintiff is a student at Fairview High School. As a result, he possesses constitutional standing to bring and maintain this action. In support of his claim of constitutional standing and by way of establishing his bona fides as a student, Plaintiff states that he:
A. Has engaged in various and sundry student activities at Fairview High School. For example, during his 9th grade year, Plaintiff was a proud member of the highly selective Campus Club.
B. During the 9th grade tried out for basketball and varsity baseball.
C. Generally attended school on a regular basis. Plaintiff is grateful to Defendant’s administration for allowing most students to miss school on May 1 each year.D. Was on the wrestling team during his 10th grade year until he was rendered unconscious by a Colonel White grappler. In considering his future endeavors, Plaintiff has not ruled out a pro-wrestling career after graduating from high school. Accordingly, he wishes to thank Coach Eugene Winters for introducing him to that fine sport.
E. Took advantage of the drop/add class enrollment procedures at Fairview. For example, in his 11th grade year, during the first semester, Plaintiff was a student in Mr. Detrick’s English class. In that class, Plaintiff was required to read ancient novels like The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables. During the second semester, however, your Plaintiff dropped that course and enrolled in Miss Bookwalter’s English class. Due to the student make-up of the class, rather than have the students read for themselves, Miss Bookwalter read more relevant texts like Beowulf to the students. Most of the members of Miss Bookwalter’s class took many courses in the “shop” department. Plaintiff too would have taken shop courses but for the fact that Plaintiff has absolutely no manual dexterity. During his 9th grade year at Fairview, however, Plaintiff did learn to tie his own shoes. In recent times, that has become a lost art. Plaintiff now wears Bass Weejun penny loafers on a regular basis.
F. Was subjected to Defendant’s disciplinary process in that Plaintiff acquired a goodly number of detentions. Plaintiff, however, has always worked with Coach Donald Barger at the Attendance Office to have these detentions removed from his record in an expeditious and corporal manner.
Accordingly, Plaintiff has established that he is in fact a student of Fairview High School and, as a result, has constitutional standing to maintain this action.
7. In addition to being a Fairview student, Plaintiff was also a member of a certain fraternal organization known as Alpha Chi Epsilon (hereinafter “AXE”).
8. AXE consists of approximately fifty (50) male members, all of whom, after going through a rigorous initiation process, were given a tan jacket with the AXE emblem embroidered on the left breast.
9. Members of AXE, who are prone to wear their hard-earned jackets at all times, provide a variety of important functions which assist Fairview students. In other words, AXE members are “service-seeking” and most are quite “broadminded.” When asked to so, most any AXE member will inform a fellow student where they can secure certain liquid refreshment; give advice as to where the best party or dance might be taking place; usually carry a “church key” and are more than willing to lend it; and will tell a fellow student where he can find the best deals on Gant shirts; etc. In other words, AXE members exercise their First Amendment right to free speech in a way that assists other students at Fairview.
10. In addition, an AXE jacket can be a form of political expression. For example, during last fall’s Presidential election, Plaintiff affixed a Johnson/Humphrey campaign button to his AXE jacket. Other AXE members chose to pin Goldwater buttons to their AXE jackets. In doing so, the AXE jacket became a form of free speech and expression. In that way, the AXE jacket fostered political discussion. For example, Plaintiff argued with other AXE members about their unfortunate political choice. Wearing their AXE jackets the Goldwater supporters would say things like “in your heart you know he’s right.” With his AXE jacket and LBJ button staring them in the face, your Plaintiff would say, for example, “We need to pass Medicare, we’ll be old someday.” Moreover, on the day after the election, Plaintiff gave them a hard time about the landslide victory Johnson had won over Goldwater. They responded with certain appropriate hand gestures. All the while, all three were adorned in their AXE jacket which, as mentioned, fostered protected political free speech and without the AXE jacket, it is likely that no such discussion would have taken place.
11. In spite of AXE’s members providing assistance and engaging in free political discussion in the exercise of their First Amendment Rights, the administration, through its agents Folger and Feuer issued an edict which banned, forbade and prohibited members from wearing their AXE jackets on school property.
12. The wearing of the AXE jacket was a form of expression and speech the right to which is guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
13. In banning the wearing of AXE jackets, the Defendant’s administration has circumvented Plaintiff’s and others’ First Amendment Rights.
14. The Defendant does not ban other similarly situated school groups from wearing their respective club emblems. These other groups include but are not limited to: Varsity F, Key Club, Nobles, Tri Thena, Servanus, Al Sora, Adelphi, Musketeers, AC-RE-Chron, French Club, National Honor Society, Y-Teens, Amateur Radio Club, Checker Club, etc. It follows from this that Defendant’s actions against your Plaintiff and other AXE members are discriminatory and in violation of Plaintiff’s constitutional right to equal protection under the law.
15. The mere wearing of the AXE jacket amounted to a form of speech which is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. In the act of banning these jackets from the halls of Fairview, the administration acted willfully, knowingly and deliberately in violation of Plaintiff’s rights.
16. As a direct and proximate result of Defendant’s intentionally unconstitutional actions, Plaintiff and others have suffered, and will continue to suffer, irreparable harm.
17. In filing this action, Plaintiff seeks ONE DOLLAR ($1.00) in damages. Moreover and more importantly, Plaintiff seeks an injunction compelling Defendant to lift its unconstitutional ban and by the use and full force of the Court’s contempt power, again allow Plaintiff and other members to wear their AXE jackets.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays that he be awarded ONE DOLLAR ($1.00) in damages and respectfully asks that the Court enter an injunction ordering Defendant to immediately cease and desist from its unconstitutional actions and allow Plaintiff and others to wear the AXE jackets in the halls of Fairview High School.
Edward G. Stout