Free Speech and the “Race” Game

King Posters Rile Some at Neb. School

Officials disciplined students who papered their nearly all-white high school with posters advocating a white student from South Africa for the school’s “Distinguished African-American Student Award.” The award has been given the last eight years to an outstanding black student as part of the school’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, she said.

Peggy Rupprecht, spokeswoman for the Westside Community Schools district, said administrators at Westside High School discovered more than a hundred of the posters throughout the school first thing Monday — Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The poster pictured junior Trevor Richards, 16, smiling and making a thumbs-up sign. A message at the top encouraged votes for him for next year’s award. According to 2002-2003 state statistics, 56 Of Westside’s 1,632 students are black or African American.

Richard’s mother said he was suspended for two days. Karen Richards said two of her son’s friends were disciplined along with him, she said. A fourth student was punished for circulating a petition Tuesday criticizing the practice of recognizing only black student achievement with the award, she said.

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