Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Court Denies 7th-Grader’s Legal Battle over ‘Two Genders’ Shirt

'No matter what you think about the gender issue, it's pretty remarkable that a school can punish a student for protesting censorship in America today... '

(Abdul–Rahman Oladimeji Bello, Headline USA) The Massachusetts District Court recently denied a lawsuit that Alliance Defending Freedom and Massachusetts Family Institute filed against Nichols Middle School for allegedly violating the First Amendment rights of a 12-year-old student. 

Liam Morrison said that his teacher kicked him out of class for wearing a t-shirt that read, “there are only two genders.” Other school staff reportedly supported the teacher’s action by sending Morrison home for refusing to take off the shirt. 

“This is about a public school telling a 7th grader that he isn’t allowed to hold a view that differs from the school’s preferred orthodoxy,” said ADF legal counsel Logan Spena in a statement issued before Wednesday’s hearing. “Public school officials can’t censor Liam’s speech by forcing him to remove a shirt that states a scientific fact. Doing so is a gross violation of the First Amendment that we’re urging the court to rectify.”

However, things took an unexpected turn at the hearing as the court denied the request for a restraining order or a temporary injunction, Fox News reported. If granted, this would have restricted the school’s ability to prevent Morrison from expressing his views before the court made a final decision.

“No matter what you think about the gender issue, it’s pretty remarkable that a school can punish a student for protesting censorship in America today,” Spena said as he addressed the media.

“They claim that because Liam’s message is not inclusive, they can exclude it. What they don’t account for is how does their own speech and all the other speech they already permit impact Liam? It completely excludes him. But for some reason, that doesn’t seem to count,” he continued. 

Still addressing the media, the attorney added, “The better rule is the one that protects everyone. The First Amendment does not change depending on whether your view is popular or not.” 

The attorney concluded, noting that ADF will appeal the case to a higher court if the district court rules against Morrison.

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