Thursday, January 12, 2006

Free Speech...Unless You're Pro-Life...

Walk through many high schools (at least the ones that haven't turned the students into faceless drones by implementing uniforms) and you will see t-shirts of all varieties. Just in my neighborhood I have seen: "I [heart] Poop", "Meat is Murder", "I'm a drinker, not a fighter", "Nerd Free Zone" and various band t-shirts. I have no problem with any of this, until you start singling out a certain message and saying the kids can't wear it...

There are many examples of this happening across the country -not when kids choose to wear pro-pot or pro-drinking shirts, but when they have the audacity to wear t-shirts depicting a pro-life message.

In Filmore, New York a boy was sent home for wearing a pro-life message on his t-shirt. The savvy teen contacted The Thomas Moore Law Center who sent the school principal a note outlining the student's first amendment rights. The student was still prohibited from wearing the tee and it went to court where a federal District Court ruled in favor of the student's right to wear the shirt to school.

“This student courageously took a stand for his views and our constitution. The ruling is clear--public schools don’t have the right to silence the pro-life speech of students.”

The student’s shirt is distributed by the American Life League’s Rock for Life group and displayed the following message: “Abortion is Homicide. You will not silence my message. You will not mock my God. You will stop killing my generation. Rock for Life.” Fillmore Principal Kyle Faulkner told the student that he could not wear his shirt in school. The student was sent home for the day when he respectfully replied that he had a right to wear the shirt.

...This past December, Judge Elfvin permanently ordered the school to allow the student to wear clothing in school that expresses his pro-life message. The judge also ordered the school district to pay the student nominal damages. The judge awarded a total of $24,600 in attorneys’ fees to the two law firms. (source)

At Milford High School in Massachusetts, students that were wearing shirts that read "Abortion Kills Kids" were told to put tape over the words. Teens that refused to comply were told to wear their jackets over the shirts or go home for the remainder of the day. In Virginia kids were told to turn pro-life t-shirts inside out. In Florida a student was given detention for wearing the shirt....and the list goes on. (source)

(*All t-shirts pictured are available at the Cafe Press Pro-Life Gear Store)

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