Ky. high school, ex-student settle suit over Confederate-flag dress

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A former high school student who filed a lawsuit over trying to attend prom wearing a dress with a Confederate-flag design has reached a settlement with the school district, her attorney said.

School officials kept Jacqueline Duty out of Russell High School’s May 1, 2004, prom for wearing the dress, calling it too controversial.

Duty then filed a lawsuit against the school district in U.S. District Court in Lexington, claiming the district and administrators violated her First Amendment right to free speech and her right to celebrate her heritage.

Her attorney, Earl-Ray Neal, verified that a settlement has been reached, but said terms of the settlement will not be disclosed. According to an order filed last week by U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Patterson, attorneys representing the school board had notified the court of the settlement.

“My client feels vindicated and we feel quite happy that the school district and administration were able to work with Ms. Duty and reach an amicable settlement,” Neal said. “These types of resolutions are what the system is designed to accomplish.”

A call to an attorney representing school officials by the Associated Press was not immediately returned on Tuesday.

The settlement has not yet been presented to the judge and is subject to the judge’s approval, Neal said.

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