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Tags: appeals court | liam morrison | two genders t-shirt | first amendment

Student Banned From Wearing 'Two Genders' Shirt Loses Appeal

By    |   Wednesday, 12 June 2024 09:01 PM EDT

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against a middle-school student who wore a T-shirt that read, "There are only two genders," Breitbart reported.

A court ruled unanimously that "precisely because the message was reasonably understood to be so demeaning of some other students' gender identities, there was the potential for the back-and-forth of negative comments and slogans between factions of students" that could lead to "a deterioration in the school's ability to educate its students," reported Education Week.

Last year, Liam Morrison, a student at Nichols Middle School in Middleborough, Massachusetts, was asked to remove a shirt bearing the message. The incident began on March 5, 2023, when Morrison was removed from gym class and told to take off the shirt after other students reportedly complained and felt unsafe, according to ABC 15 News.

A staff member informed the seventh grader that his shirt was "targeting a protected class." Morrison refused to change the shirt, prompting the school to call his father to pick him up.

During an April 13, 2023, Middleborough Public Schools board meeting, Morrison shared his experience, arguing that the school should better support students' First Amendment rights. A video of his remarks gained significant attention on social media.

His parents sued, claiming the school violated their son's First Amendment rights. A federal district court ruled against them earlier this year, a decision that was upheld by the 1st Circuit on June 9, according to Fox News.

David Cortman, senior counsel and vice president of U.S. Litigation for the Alliance Defending Freedom, commented on the ruling: "This case isn't about T-shirts; it's about a public school telling a middle-schooler that he isn't allowed to express a view that differs from their own." He emphasized that the legal system is "built on the truth that the government cannot silence any speaker just because it disapproves of what they say."

Cortman also criticized the school, stating, "The school actively promotes its view about gender through posters and 'Pride' events, and it encourages students to wear clothing with messages on the same topic — so long as that clothing expresses the school's preferred views on the subject."

The Middleboro school district annually commemorates Pride month by displaying Pride flags and sending the message that there are "an unlimited number of genders," Cortman told the appeals court.

The Morrison family is considering further legal options. Morrison previously told Fox News that his intention was not to offend the LGBTQ community but to express his beliefs.

"I'm just voicing my opinion about a statement that I believe to be true," he said. "And I feel like some people may think that I'm imposing hate speech, even though it's not directed towards anyone."

Jim Thomas

Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.

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US
The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against a middle-school student who wore a T-shirt that read, "There are only two genders," Breitbart reported.
appeals court, liam morrison, two genders t-shirt, first amendment
453
2024-01-12
Wednesday, 12 June 2024 09:01 PM
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