College Investigating Claims Of First Amendment Violations - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

College Investigating Claims Of First Amendment Violations

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by Janet Kim

COLUMBIA, Tenn. - Columbia State Community College said they're investigating claims of First Amendment violations.

The Alliance Defending Freedom stated that Professor Linda Brunton required her students to wear rainbow coalition ribbons in support of gay rights as part of a class assignment that examined discrimination against homosexuals.

When some of the students voiced their complaints about the assignment, Professor Brunton allegedly called them "ignorant" and "uneducated."

The Alliance Defending Freedom claimed the action violated the students' First Amendment rights, and advocated a position, instead of encouraging tolerance.

"The assignment asked them to basically advocate a position, supporting this rainbow coalition that they sincerely disagreed with," said David Hacker, with Alliance Defending Freedom. "They had sincerely held religious beliefs against that topic and didn't want to wear a ribbon."

While some students claimed that Brunton went too far, others said they felt like it was merely an objective experiment.

"I don't feel like the teacher said, 'if you don't do this, you'll fail the course' or things like that. I mean, it's just an assignment," said Columbia State Community College Junior Ivan Jones. "I don't really see why it would be much of a problem if it's an assignment, I mean people should be more open-minded, we're in college, anyway."

Brunton has not yet issued a public statement, but said she has more than 30 years of experience and a complaint like this is a first.


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