Boy, 12, says he was kicked out of Massachusetts school for wearing shirt that said ‘there are only two genders’ – because staff said it made pupils feel ‘unsafe’
- Liam Morrison, 12, said he was kicked out of John T. Nichols Jr. Middle School in March because he was wearing a shirt proclaiming ‘There are only two genders’
- He told the Middleborough School Council that school officials told him other students were complaining it made them feel ‘unsafe’
- But by forcing him to change out of the shirt, Morrison claimed the school was stifling his First Amendment right to free speech
A Massachusetts middle school student has claimed he was kicked out of school for wearing a t-shirt with words stating that there are only two genders.
Liam Morrison, 12, told the Middleborough School Council on April 13 how his father had to pick him up from John T. Nichols Jr. Middle School the month before when he refused to change out of his t-shirt that read ‘There are only two genders.’
He said school officials told him other students were complaining that it made them feel ‘unsafe’ and was ‘disrupting education.’
But by forcing him to change out of the shirt, Morrison claimed the school district was stifling his First Amendment right to free speech.
DailyMail.com has reached out to Middleborough Public Schools for comment.
Liam Morrison, 12, claimed at a Middleborough Public School Council meeting on April 13 that he was kicked out of class for wearing a shirt declaring ‘There are only two genders’ a month earlier
In his speech to the school board, Morrison said he was taken out of gym class on March 21 to meet with school officials, who told him that people were complaining about his t-shirt, saying it made them feel ‘unsafe.’
‘They told me that I wasn’t in trouble, but I sure felt like I was,’ Morrison said of the experience. ‘I was told that I would need to remove my shirt before I could return to class. When I nicely told them I didn’t want to do that, they called my father.
‘Thankfully, my dad, supportive of my decisions, came to pick me up.
‘What did my shirt say?’ he continued. ‘Five simple words: “There are only two genders.” Nothing harmful. Nothing threatening. Just a statement I believe to be a fact.’
He added that he did not go to school that day to ‘hurt feelings or cause trouble.’
But school officials told him his shirt was ‘targeting a protected class.’
‘Who is this protected class?’ Morrison asked. ‘Are their feelings more important than my rights.’
‘I don’t complain when I see Pride flags and diversity posters hung throughout the school. Do you know why? Because others have a right to their beliefs just as I do,’ he said.
Morrison also said he was told that ‘the shirt was a disruption to learning,’ but ‘no one got up and stormed out of class. No one burst into tears. I’m sure I would have noticed if they had.
‘I experience disruptions to my learning every day,’ he noted. ‘Kids acting out in class are a disruption, yet nothing is done. Why do the rules apply to one and to another?’
Morrison said officials at the John T. Nichols Jr Middle School told him the shirt made other students feel ‘unsafe’ and it was ‘disrupting learning’
He said he wanted to bring the School Committee’s attention to the issue. The School Committee is pictured here at its April 13 meeting
The pre-teen added that ‘not one person’ directly told him they were bothered by the words on his shirt, and in fact, other students told him they supported its message.
But by kicking him out of class, Morrison said, he felt like the middle school was telling him it was not OK for him to have dissenting opinions.
‘I have learned a lot from this experience,’ he said. ‘I learned that a lot of other students share my view. I learned that adults don’t always do the right thing or make the right decisions.
‘I know that I have a right to wear a shirt with those five words,’ Morrison continued. ‘Even at 12 years old, I have my own political opinions and I have a right to express those opinions. Even at school. This right is called the First Amendment to the Constitution.’
‘My hope in being here tonight is to bring the School Committee’s attention to this issue,’ he said. ‘I hop that you will speak up for the rest of us, so we can express ourselves without being pulled out of class.
‘Next time, it may not only be me,’ he concluded. ‘There might be more soon that decide to speak out.’
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