BOSTON, MA – Independent Women’s Law Center (IWLC) has filed an amicus brief in support of a middle school student who was punished for wearing a t-shirt deemed politically incorrect by school administrators.
L.M., a seventh-grade honors student at a Massachusetts public middle school, came to school in a shirt that read, “There Are Only Two Genders,” expressing the widely held belief that sex is binary. The school’s dress code did not categorically prohibit clothing bearing slogans or messages of social significance, and L.M.’s shirt prompted no disruption and no protest. Nevertheless, school officials removed L.M. from class and sent him home.
L.M. and his family raised objections with school administrators but were told that L.M. ‘s shirt “targeted” students of a protected class. L.M. then wore a shirt that read “There Are [censored] Genders,” but school administrators required him to remove that shirt as well.
L.M. sought a preliminary injunction against the school district’s policies. The district court denied that motion, stating that expressing the idea that sex is binary violates the rights of some students to avoid “being confronted by messages attacking their identities” at school.
IWLC’s brief urges the Court of Appeals to reverse the district court, explaining that L.M. ‘s shirt was a generalized statement not targeted at particular students and, furthermore, students do not have a right to be shielded from commonly held viewpoints they might regard as hurtful.
Ginny Gentles, director of Independent Women’s Forum’s Education Freedom Center, said, “School districts must stop demanding cult-like adherence to the gender gospel by punishing students who express viewpoints held by a majority of parents. Hopefully, lawsuits like L.M.’s will show students and their parents that they are not alone and will empower them to fight for their right to express themselves.”
Jennifer C. Braceras, director of Independent Women’s Law Center, said: “Ironically, Defendants’ own sexual harassment policies speak of ‘either gender’ (meaning two). And numerous federal statutes, state statutes, and decisions by state and federal courts refer regularly to ‘both’ sexes, ‘the opposite sex,’ or ‘either’ sex.”
Added Braceras, “If the school district, our laws, and our courts can all speak casually of “two” sexes (or “genders”), one must wonder: Why can’t L.M.?”
IWLC’s brief can be found HERE.