A public school will allow an anti-gay t-shirt to be worn by one of its students, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut.
Officials from the Wolcott, Connecticut public school system have decided to support student Seth Groody’s right to wear the controversial clothing. The school board claims the t-shirt’s anti-gay message falls under the First Amendment.
According to WFSB News, the front of the t-shirt includes a rainbow, often used as a symbol of gay rights. However, the rainbow on Groody’s shirt sports a bright red slash-mark running through it. The back of the t-shirt features a stick figure drawing of a male and female couple holding hands above the phrase “Excessive Speech Day.”
Groody, a high school student, first wore the t-shirt to school in April 2012. He chose to wear the clothing during a Day of Silence at Wolcott High School, which was participating in a national campaign to raise awareness of bullying against the gay community.
The school asked Groody to remove the t-shirt and the student complied with the request.The student has allegedly stated that the removal was under protest.
After further consideration, the school has decided to allow the anti-gay t-shirt to be worn. In a post to its Facebook page on Tuesday night, Wolcott Public Schools wrote the following:
“The Wolcott Public Schools believes in and supports the First Amendment rights of students, in accordance with both court decisions and the policies of the Wolcott Board of Education. The Wolcott Public Schools has always and will continue to allow students their rights of free expression, so long as all students exercise their rights without creating a substantial disruption to the educational environment for all students.”
According to The Associated Press, an attorney for the school notified the American Civil Liberties Union of the decision. The ACLU has reportedly indicated that they may move forward with legal action regarding the matter.
Sandra Staub, legal director of the ACLU of Connecticut, said the following:
“The First Amendment was written to protect unpopular speech, which is naturally the kind of speech that will always need protection. The ACLU has fought hard for same-sex marriage and we couldn’t agree with Seth less on that issue, but he is absolutely correct about his right to express his opinion.”
Do you agree with the school’s decision to allow an anti-gay t-shirt to be worn by a student?