The American Civil Liberties Union says a Connecticut high school violated a student's rights to free expression by asking him to remove a T-shirt with an anti-gay message.
Seth Groody, a junior at Wolcott High School, wore the shirt bearing a rainbow with a slash through it on April 20. The other side showed two stick figures - a male and a female - holding hands above the message "Excessive Speech Day," according to the ACLU of Connecticut.
April 20th was WHS's day of awareness of harassment toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.
Groody removed the shirt on school officials' orders.
The ACLU said the school violated the student's First Amendment rights.
It asked for assurances from school officials that students will be allowed to wear clothing with similar messages.
Groody intended the shirt to express his dislike for gay marriage and his opposition to the school's perceived message during the Day of Silence. 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.
From the ACLU:
"The First Amendment was written to protect unpopular speech, which is naturally the kind of speech that will always need protection," said Sandra Staub, legal director of the ACLU of Connecticut. "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.
"The impulse to suppress ideas that we find unpleasant is antithetical to freedom and democracy.
That's why the ACLU of Ohio stood up in 2006 for the rights of students to wear T-shirts supporting same-sex marriage and the ACLU of Connecticut must stand up in 2012 for the rights of students to express the opposite sentiment."