My guess is that you won’t see one Crystal Lake South School girl wearing short pants the few times she is allowed to leave home before her June 26th trial.
That’s because she is being forced by Judge Mike Chmiel to wear an electronic ankle monitor until that trial date.
She’s the one who was charged with a felony hate crime for passing out sheets of paper showing two male classmates kissing. The flier, according to District 155, “included an identifiable picture of a current student.”
Still, that’s better than the shackles she was forced to wear in court. (Thanks to the Chicago Tribune’s Carolyn Starks for that detail, plus many others of the story.)
The Tribune story says conviction could result in a 30-day sentence.
At Judge Chmiel’s order, she’s already spent 18 days in Kane County’s Juvenile Detention Center since her arrest on May 11. (Lacking its own detention center, McHenry County sends its juveniles to Kane County’s.)
“The girl’s attorney, Matthew Haiduk, said he plans to seek dismissal of the charges because her written words ‘are protected speech under the 1st Amendment,’” according to the Tribune story.
You might expect the American Civil Liberties Union to be involved in this case, as it was decades ago when a Cary-Grove High School student refused to cut his hair.
ACLS First Amendment priorities apparently don’t extend to this District 155 high schooler’s written speech, however.
Here’s what Starks got from the ACLU in Chicago:
Ed Yohnka, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, said that without seeing the flier, it is difficult to know whether it was threatening.
“It is clear to us the school has a right to punish a student for distributing fliers on school grounds absent any permission to do so … but that wasn’t the tool that was used here,” Yohnka said.
“Instead there was this immediate jump to a criminal charge. … One hopes there would be other ways to deal with these things on campus other than the inclusion of a police officer.”
The boy targeted by the leaflets and his mother were in court, Chuck Keeshan’s Daily Herald article reports.
Keeshan also writes,
(The girl’s attorney Matthew) Haiduk plans to file a motion to dismiss the charges, saying Tuesday the girls’ statements qualify as protected free speech and their actions never breached the peace or caused harm.
“It’s not something that’s necessarily mainstream thought, but I think it’s protected by the First Amendment,” Haiduk said.
Assistant McHenry County State’s Attorney Robert Windon “completely” disagreed with the defendant’s attorney’s interpretation of the First Amendment, the Daily Herald said.
The second girl, who is also on home confinement, will be in court June 26th, too. Her attorney will ask for dismissal of the charges, reports Herald reporter Brandon Coutre.