"When I Saw the Dead and Dying Afghani Children On TV, I Felt a Newly Recovered Sense Of National Security. God Bless America" &shy High School Suspends a 15-Year-Old Student for Anti-War T-Shirt

December 11, 2001

We’ll spend the rest of the hour talking about student anti-war organizing around the country. We start with KatieSierra, a 15-year-old high school student from Charleston, West Virginia. She came to school one day wearing at-shirt with a handwritten message: "When I saw the dead and dying Afghani children on TV, I felt a newly recoveredsense of national security. God Bless America." The school suspended her.

Sierra and her mother filed a lawsuit against the school, arguing that her free speech rights were violated. But aWest Virginia judge ruled in favor of the school, saying that the disruption she caused at school overrode her rightto free speech. Sierra is appealing.

Sierra’s mother pulled her out of school after she endured physical threats, and even accusations of "treason" fromschool board members when she went before them to protest her suspension. According to some school board members,Sierra was committing treason by espousing her anti-war views and trying to start an anarchist group at school.


  • Katie Sierra, high school student who was suspended for wearing a t-shirt on which she had written, "WhenI saw the dead and dying Afghani children on TV, I felt a newly recovered sense of national security. God BlessAmerica." She and her mother are suing the school.