The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

"Have They Been Harmed, These Gifties?"

By Alicia Dorr in News on Jan 5, 2007 4:06PM

It's been four years since the "Gifties" at Beaubien School lost a T-shirt contest at their school, which caters to both gifted students ("Gifties") and regular students (apparently, "Tards"). And this pack of smart kids has spent four years taking their case all the way to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Gifties say the administration tampered with the results of the vote to ensure they didn't win the contest, and so they wore T-shirts with a "crude drawing" of a kid with a thumbs-up sign and the word "Gifties" on the back in protest. The principal confined all 24 of them to one classroom for two weeks as punishment.

We bet that the principal sort of wishes that he had just let them wear the T-shirts. It doesn't sound like the contest, which took place in 8th grade, really demonstrated any of the student's academic abilities, but now the legal battle is raising all sorts of 1st Amendment issues we thought were confined to those who wore Marilyn Manson shirts in the '90s or peace T-shirts now.

Poster_7013_thumb.jpgThe group is going up and up, though, so we figure, good for them. A judge they saw Thursday in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ultimately ruled against them, didn't agree, though, asking "why people sue over such trivialities" and "have they been harmed, these Gifties?" Their lawyer quickly countered that all of the students at the school saw what would happen if they went against the administration — confinement.

So which precedent would you rather see set: that kids shouldn't be treated like they don't have constitutional rights or that kids should probably not be spending all of their time fighting about a T-shirt contest in 8th grade? Perhaps if they had just worn their "Math Team" T-shirts that day, all of this could have been avoided.

Image via