Should a graduating high school student be allowed to wear an eagle feather – an item with cultural and religious significance to him, as a member of a native American tribe – at his graduation ceremony?

His school district has said no, but Christian Titman filed a lawsuit Monday asserting his free-speech and religious-freedom rights under the state constitution and California’s education code. A hearing was to be held Tuesday afternoon, and Mr. Titman hopes for a decision before his graduation ceremony on Thursday.

It’s not the first time free-speech questions have come up with regard to graduations, and it’s also not the first time an eagle feather has been the subject of controversy for a native American student. But free-speech experts say Titman’s case is particularly strong given the protections that California students have under the state’s education code, as well as the religious freedoms guaranteed by the state constitution.

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