Morgan Miller, ACLU of Mississippi, 769-447-6678;

JACKSON, Miss – The following is a statement from American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi Legal Director Charles Irvin in response to the criminal action taken against a family cheering at Senatobia High School’s graduation ceremony:

“The First Amendment of the United States Constitution clearly prohibits the making of any law that would impede the freedom of speech. Citizens should be able to enjoy the right of free speech, especially at a congratulatory event, like a high school graduation. The action of charging the family with disturbing the peace by Senatobia Municipal School District Superintendent Jay Foster infringes upon the family’s exercise of this right. The cheering by the family does not qualify as a disturbance of the peace and should not have elicited a criminal response. Additionally, the family’s celebration was not calculated to provoke a breach of the peace, nor would it have led to a breach of the peace.

“The school’s response points to the issue of the subjective enforcement of these kinds of laws in Mississippi and across the country. The ACLU of Mississippi will stand in defense of citizens’ right to the freedom of speech and condemn an unnecessary criminal response to these kinds of actions.”