NEW RIDER v. BOARD OF EDUCATION, PAWNEE COUNTY, OKLAHOMA
Annotate this Case
414 U.S. 1097 (1973)
U.S. Supreme Court
NEW RIDER v. BOARD OF EDUCATION, PAWNEE COUNTY, OKLAHOMA , 414 U.S. 1097 (1973)
414 U.S. 1097
Norman NEW RIDER, by his Mother and Next Friend, Wilma Williams, et al.,
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1, PAWNEE COUNTY, OKLAHOMA, et al.
Supreme Court of the United States
December 10, 1973
Rehearing Denied Feb. 19, 1974.
See 415 U.S. 939.
On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.
Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, with whom Mr. Justice MARSHALL concurs, dissenting.
Petitioners are male Pawnee Indians who are students at Pawnee Junior High School, a public school in Oklahoma. They sought to wear their hair parted in the middle with a long braid on each side so that, in their words, they could follow the 'old traditional ways'
and because such a hairstyle was 'one way of telling people that I am proud [to be an Indian].' Others testified that young Indians sought to wear braided hair because of a new-found pride in their heritage, in an attempt to 'regain their tradition, to learn their culture.'
These youth were suspended from school indefinitely on April 24, 1972, 1 for being in violation of a school hair-length regulation, which forbids hair reaching the shirt collar or ears. The Court of Appeals justified the suspension on the ground that the regulation was rational in that it sought to achieve the objective of 'instilling pride and initiative among the students leading to scholarship attainment and high school spirit and morale.' The court stressed testimony from one school superintendent that a school system cannot countenance different groups and still remain one organization.
Petitioners claim, inter alia, that the school hair-length restriction unjustifiably impinges on the freedom of expression guaranteed them by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. This Court has consistently, over my dissents, refused to review lower court decisions passing on the constitutionality of school hair-length regulations, whether such regulations have been upheld or struck down, and regardless of the grounds on which the lower courts have reached their conclusions. I have noted the deep division among the Circuits on this issue, and have thought that it is an issue of particular personal interest to many and of considerable constitutional importance. See Freeman v. Flake, 405 U.S. 1032; Olff v. East Side Union High School District, 404 U.S. 1042. [414 U.S. 1097 , 1099]