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ACLU backs off. Free speech entitles student to wear anti-gay t-shirt
February 27, 2013 at 10:30 AM

School allows student to wear anti-gay T-shirt

Updated:   02/27/2013 12:22:18 AM EST

Wednesday February 27, 2013

WOLCOTT, Conn. (AP) -- Officials in a Connecticut school district have backed down in a fight over free speech rights, allowing a student to wear a T-shirt bearing an anti-gay message.

The lawyer for the school district this month wrote to the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, saying Wolcott High School student Seth Groody may wear the T-shirt, which bears a slash mark through a rainbow. The other side showed a male and female stick figure holding hands above the message "Excessive Speech Day," the ACLU of Connecticut said.

The ACLU said Groody wore the shirt April 20, which was designated as a day of awareness of harassment toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Groody complied with an order from a school administrator that he remove his shirt and replace it with one depicting a Wolcott High School symbol, the ACLU said.

Sandra Staub, legal director of the ACLU of Connecticut, said the district’s reversal teaches students that the First Amendment "is not merely a theoretical discussion topic but a real and vital guarantee" of free speech rights.

The ACLU prepared a lawsuit to be filed in federal court demanding that the school district be stopped from enforcing its T-shirt ban and that no disciplinary measures be taken against Groody.

Without elaborating, school lawyer Christine Chinni wrote to the ACLU on Feb. 14, saying Groody may wear the T-shirt. She declined

to comment beyond what she wrote in the letter.

Edward Groody, Seth’s father, referred questions to the ACLU.

The ACLU disagrees "very strongly" with Seth’s views on gay rights, but its opinion has no bearing on his right to express those views, Staub said.


  • DieselsMom
    February 27, 2013 at 10:34 AM


  • talia-mom
    February 27, 2013 at 10:34 AM


  • krysstizzle
    February 27, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    Free sppech? I thought free speech could be limited in schools? I wonder if this would have been the outcome if someone had worn a t-shirt with a racist message...

  • JLo1486
    by JLo1486
    February 27, 2013 at 10:37 AM
    Good. He does have the right to do so even if many don't agree. I'm tired of people getting trampled on for expressing their own rights.
  • Euphoric
    February 27, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    I agree with this, but my opinion is that it's sad that someone feels such disdain for a gay person, that they need to wear an anti gay shirt. Pathetic and disgusting.

  • coolmommy2x
    February 27, 2013 at 10:40 AM
    Interesting...when the hate is against gays, it's OK but people get up in arms over Westboro Baptist Church's hate. Hate is hate.
  • pamelax3
    February 27, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    I agree with the protection of this students first amendments rights, I just do not agree with the message

  • krysstizzle
    February 27, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Would everyone agree with this kid's right to wear a KKK shirt in school?

  • romalove
    February 27, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    If I were that school, I would enforce a dress code that would disallow any clothing with words or symbols on it.

    That would put an end to that.

    February 27, 2013 at 10:48 AM

     I hope this is a private school. If this school recieves on dime in federal funding, and we have laws protecting the discrimination of people then I vote "NO." Why promote hate, and allow a student to do it under the guise of free speech?

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