KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A federal judge has thrown out a former Tennessee student’s free-speech lawsuit against a school dress code that banned Confederate flag clothing.

Nearly a year after a jury failed to reach a verdict in Tommy Defoe’s case, U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan has ruled against a retrial.

The judge said there was undisputed evidence of racial threats against minorities at Anderson County High School and school officials “reasonably forecasted” that clothing such as Defoe’s Confederate flag T-shirt and belt buckle would cause a “material and substantial disruption to the school environment.”

Defoe’s lawyers say Varlan’s ruling, which was based on a federal appeals decision in a similar case from Blount County, will likely be appealed as well.


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