US: 68-year-old arrested after complaining that student was allowed to wear anti-gay t-shirt
A 68-year-old man in the US has been charged with breach of peace and criminal trespass after causing a disturbance at two schools in an attempt to complain about a recent decision to allow a student to wear a t-shirt featuring an anti-gay message.
Earlier this week, a Wolcott school district lawyer wrote to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Connecticut, and said that Wolcott High School student Seth Groody would be allowed to wear the t-shirt.
It contained 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.
Derrell Rice, 68, of Torrington, Connecticut, took umbrage at the decision for Groody to be allowed to wear the t-shirt, and went to the school to complain.
Rice was described as an elderly, well-dressed gentleman, drove to Plymouth Center School on Wednesday morning, and posed as a grandfather registering his granddaughter for school, in order to be let in.
School officials from Plymouth told him that the t-shirt incident happened at Wolcott High School, not Plymouth, and said that he was upset and loud, prompting them to call the police.
He then left, and went to Wolcott High School, where police found him ringing the buzzer to be let in, reports NBC. He said he wanted to complain
Superintendant Joseph Macary met with Rice and said he explained that his concerns were understood, but that the decision was based on the First Amendment, as well as school policy.
He said that Rice refused to leave school property when asked because he wanted to go into the school and tell people what was going on.
Wolcott police said that Rice was charged with breach of peace, and first-degree criminal trespass because he caused annoyance and alarm, and refused to leave the school. He was also charged with breach of peace, and his bond was set at $1,000 (£659).