First Amendment

Superintendent drops charges for cheering at graduation; ACLU sees First Amendment violation

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A school superintendent in Mississippi is no longer pressing charges against four people who cheered for their family members at a high school graduation.

Misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace were dropped on Monday, report WREG and WMCActionNews5. The four people had cheered for family members graduating from Senatobia High School despite a request to hold their applause until the end of the ceremony.

Superintendent Jay Foster of the Senatobia Municipal School District would not comment to WREG on why he dropped the charges.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi weighed in on the controversy, the Jackson Free Press reports. In a statement, the group said the charges violate the First Amendment right to free speech. The ACLU also said the cheering didn’t qualify as disturbing the peace.

“The school’s response points to the issue of the subjective enforcement of these kinds of laws in Mississippi and across the country,” the statement said.

Related article: “People who cheered during graduation ceremony face criminal charges”

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