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, we ask, should schools police the slogans on T-shirts that kids wear? Take our poll and add your thoughts in our comment section.

Sandy June 17, 2012 at 05:37 AM
I don't know how I feel about this poll, but I do feel that if we value free speech, we have to allow the speech that we don't necessarily agree with. I think, although I don't agree, that the tee shirt should have been allowed.
Kirsten M. Walker June 17, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Why allow slogan T-shirts at all? I don't think uniforms are the solution but I do think that students need to dress up a notch or two for school. Remember play clothes, school clothes and church clothes? Worked for decades without incident.
Healthisgreat June 17, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Sandy, then where do we draw the line? Why don't we allow kids to where anti- black, Muslim, Hispanic, shirts??? Because it's wrong, and profane, and Lude!!
Healthisgreat June 17, 2012 at 01:14 PM
We're not talking about freedom of speech on the street. In school it is present but within reason. Gays and lesbians are what we call a protected class in CT. Therefore I believe be ACLU is wrong the student's shirt should not have been allowed!


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