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Patch's Poll: Should Schools Police Kids' T-Shirt Slogans?

The ACLU recently informed a Connecticut school that a student was within his rights to wear an anti-gay T-shirt during a day raising awareness of gay and lesbian bullying and harassment.

A school in Wolcott violated a student’s right to free expression when school officials asked him to remove a shirt that contained an anti-gay message, according to a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union this week.

Seth Groody, a Wolcott High School junior, wore a T-shirt on April 20 that depicted a rainbow on the front — a well-known symbol of gay rights — with a slash over it. On the back of the shirt was a pair of male and female stick figures seen holding hands, as well as the phrase  “Excessive Speech Day," the ACLU said.

The ACLU said Groody wore the shirt on a designated Day of Silence, which is part of a national movement to raise awareness of bullying and harassment of gays and lesbians. The school’s decision to order Groody remove the shirt — which he did under protest — was a violation of his First Amendment rights, citing a recent similar case, the ACLU said.

The organization, which notified the school district via a letter, said the shirt was intended to express his dislike for gay marriage and his opposition to the designated Day of Silence. According to the Hartford Courant, the ACLU said it doesn't agree with Groody's message but said the student had a right to wear that shirt.

“It was a statement of opinion that school officials and other students might disagree with but that would not substantially interfere with the operation of the school or invade anyone's rights,” the ACLU said.

With so many issues coming up on a yearly basis about school apparel, should schools police the slogans on T-shirts that kids wear? Take our poll and add your thoughts in our comment section.

J. Lippi June 10, 2012 at 07:43 PM
I agree with Jane.
meowkats4 June 10, 2012 at 10:44 PM
I agree totally with Jane on this!!!
Ann S June 11, 2012 at 10:43 AM
I find boys kissing boys and girls kissing girls in public offensive -- does that count?
Ann S June 11, 2012 at 10:48 AM
But wearing tape over your mouth is not bullying (to the straight community) -- gays like to think of it as a sign of solidarity. Seems rather prejudicial. How is it that a minority group (gays) want things look at one way and for themselves and another way for the majority (straights). Isn't that Bi-Constitutionality? {Oops, that's another fringe group altogether]
James July 26, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Here we go, Free Speech. You can't yell fire (when there is none) in a theater today.You can't insight riot either. So there are already reasonable limitations set by laws and rules. This should also apply to slogans on tee-shirts, especially in schools or other government run facilities. The trick is to craft understandable, common sense laws and rules and then apply them consistently and fairly to all. No personal bias, political agendas or flavor of the month political correctness, just good old commons sense. Finally, parents have to take responsibility for their children as well. Too many times that does not occur today.

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