When the logo of Wimberley High School in Wimberley, Texas was altered on social media to include a rainbow flag, associating the school with homosexuality, the school district trademarked its logo and said it would issue cease-and-desist letters to anyone found using the gay image, including on the Internet.
Now the American Civil Liberties Union has stepped into the months-long fray between Wimberley Independent School District and some parents over whether a district logo can be adapted to reflect support of practices that many people find degenerate or destructive.
The district contacted parents in December and issued its warning about using the altered logo, CBS Austin reports.
The controversy started last fall when a parent of a Wimberley High student made a T-shirt with the logo against a rainbow flag for the city’s first Pride Parade. Images of the shirt were 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 is 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.