Student files lawsuit over anarchy club

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A 15-year-old student who wants to start an anarchy club at her high school has filed a lawsuit after being suspended for passing out fliers on school grounds.

Sissonville High School sophomore Katie Sierra wants to wear a red T-shirt on which she has scribbled messages opposing the attack on Afghanistan and criticizing Republicans.

Sierra and her mother, Amy, filed the complaint in Kanawha County Circuit Court Tuesday after school principal Forest Mann ordered Sierra not to wear the T-shirt at school.

Messages on the shirt include, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republicans whom I can't stand, one nation under smog, indespicable with liberty and justice for some, not all," "Against Bush," "Against Bin Laden" and "World Peace!?!?"

The lawsuit accuses school and county board of education officials of denying Sierra her constitutional rights, subjecting her to public abuse and jeopardizing her ability to receive an education.

The Sierras are seeking the protection of Katie Sierra's right to form the club, as well as an order to remove the suspension from her school record.

A hearing was set for Wednesday afternoon.

"It's truly a shame we have to take money away from students who want to learn in order to defend these costly and time-consuming frivolous lawsuits," school board member John Luoni told The Charleston Gazette. "We have a dress code. If you have a problem with that, you can go to a private school or to another county."

Meanwhile, Amy Sierra says her daughter doesn't want to topple the U.S. government and doesn't support terrorism.

"She believes solely in world peace," Amy Sierra told the Gazette on Tuesday.

"She's bored," Sierra said. "She's not interested in sports. She's not interested in foreign-language clubs. She wanted to start something she was interested in."

Sierra supports her daughter's right to speak out, but not necessarily her call for peace following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Sierra has a brother in the Army, while another brother served in the Gulf War and her father served in Vietnam.

"I'm all American," Amy Sierra said. "I have flags on my car. If people can wear the flag, why can't my daughter wear an anarchy symbol?"

AP-CS-10-31-01 1059EST

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