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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

ACLU Enters Dispute With Texas School District Over Parents' Use of LGBTQ Logo

Posted By on Tue, Jan 28, 2020 at 3:40 PM

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The American Civil Liberties Union has joined a months-long battle between Wimberley ISD and parents over whether a district logo can be used against the backdrop of the LGBTQ+ Pride flag.

In December, the district sent a message to parents warning that it had trademarked the Wimberley High School logo and planned to issue cease-and-desist letters to anyone found using the image, including sharing it on social media, CBS Austin reports.

The conflict erupted last fall when the parent of a Wimberley High student made at least one t-shirt featuring the logo against a rainbow flag for the city's first Pride Parade. Images of the shirt were subsequently posted online.

The ACLU this week filed a grievance against the district on behalf of a parent. In the document obtained by CBS Austin, the civil-rights group warns the district it's violating people's First Amendment right to free expression. It argued that the district's threat to send cease-and-desist letters has already chilled residents' free speech rights.

"Regardless of whatever copyright or trademark claims the district puts forward, posting an image of the rainbow flag and Texans logo ... falls squarely within the ambit of the 'fair use' doctrine and constitutionally protected speech," ACLU lawyer Brian Klosterboer wrote.

The ACLU earlier this month advised Wimberley ISD to retract its memo, and filed its grievance letter after the district failed to do so, CBS Austin also reports.

Wimberley, a town of roughly 3,000 residents, is located roughly an hour north of San Antonio.

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