ACLU looking at Rawlins case
The support for Monessen senior Chavas Rawlins to be able to walk with his classmates on commencement night in June has drawn a very important organization.
The Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU of Pennsylvania said that it plans to speak with Rawlins in an attempt to fight for Rawlins' rights.
Witold Walczak, legal director for the Pittsburgh Chapter, said that the Monessen School Board is violating Rawlins' rights by not allowing him to participate in commencement ceremonies.
Rawlins, who is graduating early from Monessen in order to start his academic and athletic career at West Virginia University, finished school at Monessen on Friday.
He was told in advance by the board when he earned approval for early graduation that he would not be able to participate in the June 7 festivities with his fellow seniors.
Rawlins, who said he would like to walk with his classmates, said he was not given a specific reason why he can not participate.
“I suspect we could help (Rawlins) by just sending a letter to the school,” Walczak. “I would think it would take about five minutes to get an injunction from a judge.
“You can't punish him because he criticized you,” Walczak said. “Not in America. This is about as strong a First Amendment violation as I have seen, unless there is something I am missing here.
“Anything that he may have tweeted outside of the school is his right and is definitely a violation of the school to try to punish him for.”
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.