- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 6, 2014

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) - A judge has denied a Marshalltown teenager’s request to temporarily block a three-game football suspension that was imposed as punishment for the display of what administrators called a white power sign.

District Court Judge Steven Oeth on Tuesday denied the temporary injunction request by 17-year-old Blair Van Staalduine, The Marshalltown Times-Republican reported (http://bit.ly/1sf3dbv ).

Administrators at Marshalltown High School suspended Van Staalduine after discovering a photo of him making a “W” sign with his hands. The teen argued the sign only reflected his white clothing, but Activity Director Craig Huegel testified Van Staalduine and other students involved acknowledged it signified white power.

Van Staalduine denied he made that admission to Huegel, but in his decision Oeth wrote, “The athletic director’s testimony is more credible on this issue.”

Oeth stated in his ruling that administrators control what is appropriate speech in schools. “The speech involved in this matter is not immunized by constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech and schools have the authority to determine appropriate speech in the particular school environment.”

Van Staalduine’s father, Jerry Van Staalduine, had testified that missing three games could hurt his son’s chance of getting a college scholarship.

Oeth stated that players often miss games and still receive scholarships.

Marshalltown school Superintendent Marvin Wade testified that after a racially charged fight in 2011, the school developed a culture where racist signs weren’t tolerated.

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Information from: Times-Republican, http://www.timesrepublican.com