I may not agree with its message, but a California school’s in trouble for forcing a teen to take off the pro-life tee she was wearing in honor of “pro-life t-shirt day.”
Her mom says they violated her First Amendment rights, and she’s taking them the court.
I hope she wins. Yes, I said it.
It’s not that I think the shirt has merit or even that a teenage girl should be putting that kind of pressure on other teen girls. But as long as I have the right to BE pro-choice, Anna Amador’s daughter has the right not to agree with me. And the right to say it out loud, or, in this case, wear it on her chest. If she doesn’t, my right to fight for women everywhere will be at risk.
The shirt in question was not graphic. It didn’t have swear words or images that would send kids running out of the room to vomit. If anything, it’s the simplicity of the message that was supposed to drive home the pro-life message. A picture of a small fetus, a picture of a slightly larger one and then a black box with the words “growing, growing, gone” underneath them in succession. Amador’s lawyer is using the defense that the same pictures are available in textbooks within the school building.
It was political, sure, but so is a “Vote for Obama” tee or a “McCain/Palin” top. But the right to free speech inside a school building is still a right to free speech – there can be certain limitations, but this wasn’t one spelled out ahead of time.
The school’s handbook calls for shirts to be banned that bear a “suggestion of tobacco, drug or alcohol use, sexual promiscuity, profanity, vulgarity, or other inappropriate subject matter.” The last few words pretty much leave it all up to the discretion of school staff.
Do you think the handbook should have been more to the point?