Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Free Speech Canto XXXII

by Michael Ceraolo

September 1921
Krobel, Arkansas
The school board's new rule:

                                             "The wearing
of transparent hosiery,
                                 low-necked dresses,
any style of clothing tending to immodesty in dress,
or the use of face powder,
or cosmetics,
                      is prohibited"

                                           Pearl Pugsley
showed what she thought of the board's rule
by putting more powder on her cheeks,
she refused to wash it off when ordered
to do so by one of her teachers
The principal backed the teacher,
the school board sided with the principal,
Pearl Pugsley was expelled
                                           She then sued

The trial judge agreed with her
that the rule was unreasonable,
then used lawyerly dance moves
to nevertheless rule against her,
she hadn't actually been kicked out,
she had just not been allowed back in

April 1923
The mavens in the state Supreme Court
decided that the trial judge had been
right in his ruling,
                          but wrong in his reasoning;
Pearl had in fact been expelled,
                                              and that
the rule she had been expelled for violating
was indeed reasonable:

"It will be remembered also
that respect for constituted authority,
and obedience thereto,
                                  is an essential lesson
to qualify one for the duties of citizenship,
that the schoolroom is an appropriate place
to teach that lesson"

it was not a unanimous opinion,
the dissenter, Justice Jesse C. Hart,
gets the last word:

" 'Useless laws diminish the authority of necessary ones'
The tone of the majority opinion
exemplifies the wisdom of this old proverb"

No comments:

Post a Comment