Muirlands Middle School: Student Suspended and Barred from Attending Sporting Events over Eye Black Display


Case Overview

Muirlands Middle School in La Jolla, California, suspended a student and barred him from attending future sporting events after the student wore exaggerated eye black at a football game. The principal frivolously claimed the face paint constituted “blackface.” In a November 8 letter to the school, FIRE explained that the First Amendment protects the student’s objectively inoffensive and demonstrably nondisruptive face paint. 

After learning that the San Diego Unified School District denied the student’s appeal of his suspension in a decision also dated November 8, FIRE wrote a second letter on November 13 asking the district to confirm its decision was final.