ACLU: Connecticut School Wrong to Outlaw Anti-Gay Shirt

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday said 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, which had been designated by the school as a day of awareness of harassment toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. 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.

The group said that the student told them he removed the shirt under protest on school officials’ orders.

In a letter to principal Joseph Monroe, 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.

Monroe’s office said Tuesday that he has no comment.

Sandra Staub, the legal director of the ACLU of Connecticut, said the student should be allowed to express his dislike of gay marriage.

“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,” Staub said.

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