Middle School Student Barred From Wearing ‘Two Genders’ Shirt

(StraightNews.org) – A Massachusetts court has upheld a ruling preventing a student from wearing a t-shirt stating that there are only two genders. Liam Morrison, a seventh-grader at Nichols Middle School in Middleborough, wore the shirt to school last year, but officials banned it, prompting him to wear a second one that read, “There are censored genders.” This was forbidden, too.

Morrison filed a lawsuit with the help of the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom, saying the school had violated his First Amendment rights, but a judge ruled in the school’s favor. The case reached the US Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit in Boston, and its ruling concurred with the first.

The Boston court determined that the school’s actions were justified under confines imposed by the US Supreme Court in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, which allowed free expression infringements under the “invasion of the rights of others” limitation. The court ruled that Morrison’s shirt was potentially harmful to LGBT students and disruptive to the broader educational environment.

The 1969 Tinker case clarified that free speech and First Amendment rights are available to both teachers and students but are subject to specific school environment characteristics and the need for school discipline.

Morrison’s attorneys state that the then-12-year-old wore the shirt to express his disagreement with radical gender ideology and the notion that gender extends beyond male and female. Democrat-appointed Chief US Circuit Judge David Barron, however, said that Morrison’s message conveyed the notion that male and female were the only valid “gender identities” and therefore demeaned the identity of “non-conforming” individuals.

The plaintiff, nevertheless, insisted that his message was not directly aimed at individuals or groups but an objective comment on a contentious political issue. The school argued that it had a policy in place that prohibited “hate speech” as well as a number of transgender students, some of whom had experienced suicidal ideation. The school did not prohibit Morrison’s shirt reading “First Amendment Rights.”

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