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School District Says Swastika Protected By "Freedom Of Speech"

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School District Says Swastika Protected By "Freedom Of Speech"

A concerned parent sent us this picture of a van parked at Sioux Falls' Roosevelt High School on Thursday afternoon. The van has a swastika in it's back window.

By Brian Allen KSFY

In ancient times, a swastika was a sign of peace.
In modern times, it symbolizes hate and death.

A concerned parent sent us a picture Thursday afternoon of a van in the parking lot at Sioux Falls' Roosevelt High School; it has a swastika in it's back window.

The school is investigating but the school district says there's little they can do.

They say no matter how offensive a swastika might be, it is protected by the constitutional right to free speech.

Roosevelt was made aware of this vehicle brandished with a swastika Thursday afternoon; administrators immediately tried to find it but couldn't.
Even if they had, school district spokeswoman DeeAnn Konrad says there's nothing they could have done. "We can't prohibit expression solely because we disagree with what is being expressed."

Konrad says displaying a swastika is protected by the U-S Constitution's right to free speech.
If it had been found, it could only have been removed if school officials determined it would interrupt school activity or immediately place someone in danger.
Sioux Falls' Jewish Welfare Fund Chairman Marty Gallanter released a statement which says in part: "Freedom of speech? I question that judgment. It certainly should be a violation of school rules. I don't believe it would be tolerated on a t-shirt worn inside the school, therefore should it be tolerated in the parking lot?"

"For all we know this is a joke or a prank." Sioux Falls' attorney John Hughes says this is a freedom of speech issue, meaning whoever did this would be protected by federal law.
He urges Roosevelt to use this incident as a learning tool. "What an awesome opportunity for a teacher to spend a little time talking about free speech."

And however offensive this is, DeeAnn Konrad with the school district says it's hands are tied because freedom of speech is a federal law, not a school rule. "We're not dealing with school policy here, this is something bigger than the sioux falls school district."

2009 KSFY Action News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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12:29 AM Just me wrote ...

kids screwing around, they probly just think its funny and looks cool, AND gets peoples attention

11:42 PM Steven wrote ...

While I don't agree with it, it is our duty to defend freedom of expression. "Without free speech no search for truth is possible... no discovery of truth is useful... Better a thousandfold abuse of free speech than denial of free speech. The abuse dies in a day, but the denial slays the life of the people, and entombs the hope of the race." - Charles Bradlaugh

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