US: School district backs down in fight to stop student wearing anti-gay t-shirt
Connecticut school district officials have allowed a student to wear a t-shirt bearing an anti-gay message, following a fight to attempt to stop him.
A lawyer representing the school district wrote to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Connecticut, and said that Wolcott High School student Seth Groody will be allowed to wear the t-shirt.
It contains a rainbow with a slash mark through it on one side, and on the other, a male and female stick figure holding hands, and the message “Excessive Speech Day”.
The ACLU said that Mr Groody had worn the shirt on 20 April, a day designated to raise awareness of harassment of LGBT people.
He did, however, comply with an order from a school administrator to remove the shirt and instead wore one with a Wolcott High School symbol, reports New York Local.
The legal director for the ACLU in Connecticut, Sandra Staub, said that this latest decision by the district taught students that the US Constitution First Amendment “is not merely a theoretical discussion topic, but a real and vital guarantee” of free speech.
The ACLU, which disagreed “very strongly” with the student’s views on gay rights, had nonetheless prepared a lawsuit to be filed in court demanding that the school district be stopped from enforcing the ban on the t-shirt, and to cancel any disciplinary action against the student.
A lawyer from the school, Christine Chinni, wrote to the ACLU on 14 February, saying that the school would allow him to wear the t-shirt, but without elaborating further.
The ACLU disagreed with Mr Groody’s views on gay rights, but stood by his right to express them.