Edina Zephyrus

Edina Young Conservatives Club Sues Edina Public Schools for Violations of First Amendment Rights, U.S. Flag Code

Attorney Erick Kaardal represented the Young Conservatives Club at a press conference on Dec. 7.

Attorney Erick Kaardal represented the Young Conservatives Club at a press conference on Dec. 7.

Zoe Cheung

Zoe Cheung

Attorney Erick Kaardal represented the Young Conservatives Club at a press conference on Dec. 7.

Jenna Simon, online editor-in-chief

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On Dec. 7, an attorney representing the Edina Young Conservatives Club announced they had filed a lawsuit against Edina Public Schools. The charges allege a violation of students’ rights relating to freedom of speech and association, along with violations of the U.S. Flag Code.

At 4:00 PM on the same day, students and their legal representatives held a press conference outside of Creek Valley Elementary School in Edina to explain why they are suing the district. YCC President Nick Spades, Vice President Lizzie Ebner, and club member Jazmine Edmond spoke at the conference along with Attorney Erick Kaardal and Edina parent & alum David Buyse.

“These students are proud of their conservative values. They have a passion for their beliefs, and yet they feel threatened to voice an opinion, and are bullied in the classroom and the hallways,” Buyse said. “I’m one of hundreds of parents who are tired of this, and the lawsuit filed today will provide incentive for the school to move forward toward positive change and a genuine tolerance.”

The lawsuit follows a protest which occurred at Edina’s annual Veterans’ Day Assembly on Nov. 9, during which several students refused to stand during the playing of the National Anthem and ‘Taps,’ a piece played to honor fallen soldiers. The EHS administration affirmed students’ right to remain seated during the National Anthem and ‘Taps,’ and asked that other students respect their peers’ right to do so.

In relation to conduct during the playing of the National Anthem, the U.S. Flag Code States: 

“During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.” – United States Flag Code, § 171 (1923).

“I was appalled that a group was allowed to be disruptive and disrespectful while our high school honored fallen veterans. And please remember that these same veterans fought for their freedom to protest,” Edmond said. “And according to school policies, I am told I must respect the actions of these students and turn the other cheek. That’s why I’m here today.”

Following the assembly, the YCC posted a video to their Twitter account of the protest, and exchanged private messages in the club’s “GroupMe” messaging application. These messages were later leaked by an anonymous Twitter account known as the EHS Antifascists, and were perceived by many students to be offensive and racist. On Nov. 13, the EHS Antifascists posted a video condemning the YCC’s “alt-right agenda,” and threatened to approach the administration with the names of the students who sent the offensive messages if the YCC did not take action to quell this behavior (See Assembly Protest Leads to Anonymous Threats, Harassment).

Following the posting of the EHS Antifascists’ video, police were called into EHS to investigate. The video was taken down later the same day it was posted. The YCC was also instructed to delete their Twitter account and their GroupMe messaging group.

“The Edina High School Board believes that it can honor the First Amendment by honoring the speech of flag protesters. They’re right,” Kaardal said. “But the First Amendment also requires you to honor the free speech of those people who would disagree with the protesters, who would disrespect the protesters.”

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Jenna Simon, online editor-in-chief

It’s no secret that Zephyrus Online Editor in Chief Jenna Simon is horribly inept. Her favorite hobbies include regularly falling for predictable pranks...

Zoe Cheung, photography editor

Photography Editor Zoe Cheung, known to friends as “Private Pyle” and to enemies as “that one annoying flautist,” likes to think that she’s pretty...


11 Responses to “Edina Young Conservatives Club Sues Edina Public Schools for Violations of First Amendment Rights, U.S. Flag Code”

  1. Tinkervdesmoines on December 7th, 2017 11:00 pm

    Except the issue isn’t what the First Amendment says U.S. citizens can do. It’s about what Edina High School policy says Edina High School students can do. And while peaceful protest isn’t in violation of Edina High School policy, inappropriate and racially charged comments are. The YCC made these comments. Therefore, the school has every right to disband the club.

  2. Paul Moreno on December 8th, 2017 12:35 am

    For all the conservatives, I’ll continue to call you out on your blatant racism. I’m tired of putting up with racists in my school.

  3. MSgt Scott D Johnston, USAF, Ret on December 10th, 2017 9:02 am

    Nice!!! I’m glad I don’t group ALL LIBERALS in one group based on the actions (words) of one knucklehead!! I wish we could make our thoughtless liberals….spend a few days in a country that DOES NOT have freedom of speech!!! They MIGHT have a new found respect for our flag and what it represents!!! I spent 20 years defending your priveledge to disrespect our flag!!! You?

  4. Alumni on December 8th, 2017 12:06 pm

    This is so gross. By going through with this lawsuit, the YCC is just showing how much disgusting privilege they have. This whole situation is so pointless; people should be focusing on the TRULY oppressed rather than the young white students who feel threatened the second things don’t go the way they want.

  5. Brendan Flood on December 8th, 2017 1:35 pm

    Your obsession with the word and action of defecating greatly detracts from any point you could possibly be trying to make and makes you sound as if you were a 12-year-old imbecile.

  6. MSgt Scott D Johnston, USAF, Ret on December 10th, 2017 9:08 am

    I thought this person used great restraint….and made their point well!! Something tells me…..that many of these folks are out of touch with the “real world”….BTW. The Internet and “Fake News” are not the real world!!!

  7. Publius on December 8th, 2017 9:44 pm

    So your issue with their protest… was that they were of Somali descent?

    Just like rest of Edina, looks like you like your cake white.

  8. Edina resident on December 9th, 2017 10:36 am

    Hey – I’m a resident of Edina and this person does NOT speak for me. The racism we’re seeing here is sickening. Disagreeing with someone’s silent protest does not give a person the right to make hateful comments about them.

  9. Steve Timmer on December 10th, 2017 7:04 pm

    Anybody got a link to a pdf of the complaint?

  10. Dea on December 11th, 2017 10:03 pm

    It’s all about free speech
    Peep my new mixtape YouTube Skinny Dean shoutout AHS

  11. Don Drapper on January 16th, 2018 8:04 pm

    As a tax payer and Edina resident, what I want to know is why the school district allows political groups to operate in our schools. Why are students, even high school students, taking positions on national politics and forming all the passions and biases that come with those political view points as such young, vulnerable ages? Let’s get the political organizations out of the schools and lets get those students focused on preparing for college instead of national politics.

    They will have plenty of opportunity to form opinions on national politics in college and there is plenty of learning about politics that can be done in high school on “high school issues”. If there is to be any exposure to politics in high school, shouldn’t it be on the theory of what politics itself is instead of stirring passions about national issues?

    Lastly, you adults I see who posted here arguing about which students are “right” and which group of students is “wrong” ought to all be ashamed of yourselves. All of you ought to know better than project your own ideologies on underage students who are impressionable, passionate and naive by design. Please take your need to argue national politics out of the school district and to an appropriate forum, such as Facebook or your office water cooler.

    Finally, Go Zephyrus hockey!

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Edina Young Conservatives Club Sues Edina Public Schools for Violations of First Amendment Rights, U.S. Flag Code