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Conn. School, Under Pressure, OKs Anti-Gay Shirt

Wednesday Feb 27, 2013

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.

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  • , 2013-02-27 09:38:03

    I’m glad this decision was reached. It will be easier to see who the unpopular, bigots are in the school are.

  • WayGay, 2013-02-27 10:26:27

    True. The rest if the students should wear the loudest gayest shirts they can find it make. Someone should take the kid’s name in a slashed circle with the title "biggot" and see if he likes being singled out.

  • Oh Jed said:, 2013-02-27 11:06:21

    Pretty ironic since there is likely an 80% chance Seth Groody is going to be outed down the road.

  • BGDad, 2013-02-27 19:56:13

    Hey Seth, Jerry Sandusky here. Wanna play some "football"?

  • cc, 2013-02-28 17:20:57

    I wonder what the decision would have been if an African American symbol had a slash through it and 2 Wasps on the back of the shirt? Can kids now wear SS symbols on their shirts.

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