School faces lawsuit for banning rainbows and ‘Some People Are Gay, Get Over It’ t-shirts
A school in Tennessee is facing a lawsuit – after it banned any reference to LGBT issues, including rainbow clothing.
This week, the American Civil Liberties Union in Tennessee filed a suit against Giles County Tennessee school board on behalf of Richland High student Rebecca Young.
Ms Young says she wore a shirt reading ‘Some People Are Gay, Get Over It’ on the first day of school last year on the first day of school last August, only to be reprimanded. by Principal Micah Landers.
According to the lawsuit, Landers claimed the t-shirt ‘provoked’ other students and made Young a target for bullying.
Rather than condemn the actions, the lawsuit says Superintendent Philip Wright defended the practice – telling Young’s mother that “any clothing” expressing support for LGBT people, including rainbows, were a violation of the school dress code.
The dress code does not specifically mention LGBT symbols, but states: “Clothing and accessories bearing slogans that are about or suggestive of drugs, alcohol, sex, obscenities or prove to be a disturbing influence shall not be allowed in the Giles County School System.”
The ACLU has this week filed a claim with the district court, after the school board failed to heed warnings that rules banning LGBT self-expression “violates important federal Constitutional rights and must be rescinded immediately”.
ACLU Tennessee director Hedy Weinberg told the Tennessean: “Our goal in this case is to ensure that students are not censored for expressing their support for the equal treatment and acceptance of LGBT students.
Young added: “Wearing the shirt was a way to express my support for gay people and for treating them with respect.
“The censorship I experienced clearly shows why I felt the need to use my voice this way in the first place.”