Frudden v. Pilling, No. 12-15403 (9th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed suit challenging the mandatory uniform policy at their children's public elementary school (RGES) under the First Amendment. The court concluded that RGES's inclusion of the motto "Tomorrow's Leaders" on its uniform shirts compelled speech because it mandated the written motto on the uniform shirts. The court also concluded that the exemption for uniforms of "nationally recognized youth organizations such as Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts on a regular meeting days" was content-based. Accordingly, the court concluded that strict scrutiny review applied. Because the district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), RGES was not required to make any showing regarding its justifications for including the written motto or the exemption in the policy. Further, plaintiffs were not given the opportunity to produce any countervailing evidence. The court reversed and remanded for the district court to determine whether defendants' countervailing interest was sufficiently compelling to justify requiring the written motto and the exemption.