Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Seventh Grader Sues School Over Right to Wear Pro-Life T-Shirt
Fox News ^ | 7-6-09 | By Maxim Lott

Posted on 07/06/2009 2:01:59 PM PDT by rawhide

A California mom says her public school administrators violated her daughter's First Amendment rights when they ordered the seventh-grader to take off her pro-life T-shirt.

Anna Amador has gone to court on behalf of her daughter, who she says was ordered by her principal to change her shirt on "National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day." The shirt the girl was wearing displays two graphic pictures of a fetus growing in the womb.

The incident occurred in April 2008 at McSwain Elementary School, a K-8 school in Merced, Calif. Amador alleges in her legal complaint that school Principal Terrie Rohrer, Assistant Principal C.W. Smith and office clerk Martha Hernandez mistreated her daughter and denied the girl her First Amendment rights when they ordered her to leave the cafeteria and change her shirt.

"Before Plaintiff could eat [breakfast] she was ordered by a school staff member to throw her food out and report immediately to Defendant Smith's office, located in the main office of McSwain Elementary School," the complaint reads.

"Upon arriving at the main office, Defendant Hernandez, intentionally and without Plaintiff's consent, grabbed Plaintiff's arm and forcibly escorted her toward Smith's office, at all times maintaining a vice-like grip on Plaintiff's arm. Hernandez only released Plaintiff's arm after physically locating her in front of Smith and Defendant Rohrer...

"Smith and Rohrer ordered Plaintiff to remove her pro-life T-shirt and instructed Plaintiff to never wear her pro-life T-shirt at McSwain Elementary School ever again.

"Completely humiliated and held out for ridicule, Plaintiff complied with Defendants' directives and removed her pro-life T-shirt, whereupon, Defendants seized and confiscated it. Defendants did not return Plaintiff's property until the end of the school day.

(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...


TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: dresscodes; duplicate; lawsuit; moralabsolutes; prolife; schooldiscipline; teens; tshirt
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-64 next last
The complaint quotes school district officials saying that they ordered Amador's daughter to remove the shirt because it constituted "inappropriate subject matter" in violation of the school's dress code, which bans clothing with "suggestion of tobacco, drug or alcohol use, sexual promiscuity, profanity, vulgarity, or other inappropriate subject matter."


1 posted on 07/06/2009 2:01:59 PM PDT by rawhide
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: rawhide

I agree with the school. Children should not be sent to school as walking billboards for any political cause, on the left or right.


2 posted on 07/06/2009 2:06:00 PM PDT by reaganaut1
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rawhide

If abortion was no big deal then shirts like this wouldn’t cause an controversy.


3 posted on 07/06/2009 2:06:21 PM PDT by LukeL (Yasser Arafat: "I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

So where does that leave their ability to speak freely in any medium?


4 posted on 07/06/2009 2:07:14 PM PDT by wastedyears (The Tree is thirsty and the hogs are hungry.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: rawhide

On another note...why is she eating breakfast at school?


5 posted on 07/06/2009 2:07:22 PM PDT by icwhatudo (For every clinic bombed or burned, 17 to 18 churches are burned down. MSM? MSM?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rawhide

“other inappropriate subject matter.”

In other words, whatever the education Nazis don’t like.


6 posted on 07/06/2009 2:08:11 PM PDT by Frank_2001
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: icwhatudo

Either uniforms, private education or home schooling will solve this problem.


7 posted on 07/06/2009 2:08:20 PM PDT by DonaldC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

But, if schools tried to “oppress” someone wearing a “gay pride” shirt,

they’d be sued.

We’re just asking for equal time here.


8 posted on 07/06/2009 2:08:29 PM PDT by MrB (Go Galt now, save Bowman for later)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: rawhide
graphic pictures of a fetus growing in the womb.

"Graphic"? Isn't that a word you use to describe something violent, immoral, or disgusting? What's a "fetus" supposed to do except grow?

Oh, that's right. Die.

9 posted on 07/06/2009 2:10:51 PM PDT by SamuraiScot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rawhide
Graphic images? Sheet! These are standard images right out of a biology text book. The fascist method in which the administration handled this is good grounds for a lawsuit.

Even if they found the shirt offensive, there was no good reason to make the girl miss her breakfast and be manhandled to the office.

It is a major stretch to deem this T-Shirt has the "suggestion of tobacco, drug or alcohol use, sexual promiscuity, profanity, vulgarity, or other inappropriate subject matter."

10 posted on 07/06/2009 2:10:56 PM PDT by Vigilanteman (Are there any men left in Washington? Or, are there only cowards? Ahmad Shah Massoud)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: icwhatudo

Virtually all urban and many rural schools have FREE Breakfast and lunch for all students. Thank you for your generous contribution and help.


11 posted on 07/06/2009 2:11:42 PM PDT by Jim from C-Town (The government is rarely benevolent, often malevolent and never benign!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: rawhide
inappropriate subject matter

Who decides what is/isn't appropriate?

12 posted on 07/06/2009 2:12:13 PM PDT by ninergold3 ("Has it ever occurred to you that nothing occurs to God?" -Mark Lowry)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rawhide
"Smith and Rohrer ordered Plaintiff to remove her pro-life T-shirt and instructed Plaintiff to never wear her pro-life T-shirt at McSwain Elementary School ever again.

Do they cut pages out of the students' science textbooks as well?

13 posted on 07/06/2009 2:13:33 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (There is no truth in the Pravda Media.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: icwhatudo
why is she eating breakfast at school?

There are quite a few kids in before school care as both mom and dad work. Some of the programs are open as early as 6:30AM so the kids buy breakfast at school.

14 posted on 07/06/2009 2:14:44 PM PDT by ninergold3 ("Has it ever occurred to you that nothing occurs to God?" -Mark Lowry)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1
So these shirts should have been banned too?

You wouldn't win that case in court.

15 posted on 07/06/2009 2:14:48 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (There is no truth in the Pravda Media.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Vigilanteman
or other inappropriate subject matter."

Hello. It is politically incorrect. It comes down on the WRONG side of the issue.

16 posted on 07/06/2009 2:15:51 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (There is no truth in the Pravda Media.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

“I agree with the school. Children should not be sent to school as walking billboards for any political cause, on the left or right”

Do you think a Che Guevara shirt would cause the teachers to toss her breakfast, and then be detained?


17 posted on 07/06/2009 2:16:33 PM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (Pray for, and support our troops(heroes) !! And vote out the RINO's!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Vigilanteman
Wonder if they'd send a girl home for wearing this:


18 posted on 07/06/2009 2:16:49 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (There is no truth in the Pravda Media.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: LukeL
The shirt the girl was wearing displays two graphic pictures of a fetus growing in the womb.

The pictures are "graphic?" Really? A child growing inside the womb is now graphic? Amazing.

19 posted on 07/06/2009 2:18:37 PM PDT by library user
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: rawhide
I usually agree with Judge Clarence Thomas.

He opined long ago that perhaps the best solution is to just out and out say “A kid doesn't have 1st amendment rights at school.”

At first I was appalled at this view. But slowly but surely I am coming around to it.

The law already states that the school is the de facto “parent” while the child is under their care. Parents DO exercise control over the actions, words, and dress of their children.

This would HOPEFULLY not be an example of the school telling kids what to think, or saying some views are allowed and others disallowed; it should just be a blanket “do that on your own time, you are here to learn right now, not teach, motivate, proselytize, politicize or propagandize.”

20 posted on 07/06/2009 2:18:41 PM PDT by allmendream ("Wealth is EARNED not distributed, so how could it be redistributed?")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SamuraiScot
"Graphic"? Isn't that a word you use to describe something violent, immoral, or disgusting? What's a "fetus" supposed to do except grow?
Oh, that's right. Die.

Dingdingding!!! Post of the Day!

21 posted on 07/06/2009 2:19:07 PM PDT by 668 - Neighbor of the Beast ( Happy birthday Mr. President!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

Nothing political -— no candidate, no political party, no office holder, either elected or appointed, no political party, and no legislation, current or proposed -— was mentioned on the shirt.

So how does that make her a walking political billboard? Perhaps a walking health sciences billboard, but one would not think health sciences out of place in a school...


22 posted on 07/06/2009 2:20:13 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler."--- Einstein)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: icwhatudo
“On another note...why is she eating breakfast at school?”

You don't know California Schools do you? They try to get every one to sign up for free breakfast, regardless of income level. They then tout the statistics of what percent of the school is eligible for the free breakfast as a sign of the poverty level. The more ‘poverty’ they have the more funding they get for other programs.

In the 90’s I was married with 3 kids and making $75,000. We had a hell of time NOT getting the kids signed up for the free breakfast program. Being a fiscal conservative (social also)I felt it was not appropriate for us to avail ourselves to a misguided social experiment.

23 posted on 07/06/2009 2:21:54 PM PDT by dirtymac (Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country. Calling all Son's of Liberty)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

“I agree with the school. Children should not be sent to school as walking billboards for any political cause, on the left or right.”

You’re tryin’ to put that Genie back in the bottle, yes? You may agree with the school in “principle” but legally, if they allow “walking billboards” for ANY other cause, then they must allow Mrs. Amador’s daughter to be a walking billboard for HER cause also.

In fact, it is not only commendable that this young woman wore that t-shirt, it is heroic in the most basic sense of that word. She will win her case, probably out of court. (That grinding noise you hear is the school district rapidly shifting into reverse.)


24 posted on 07/06/2009 2:24:13 PM PDT by Leonard210 (Tagline? We don't need no stinkin' tagline.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1
I agree with the school. Children should not be sent to school as walking billboards for any political cause, on the left or right.If the school bans all politically based T-shirts, then it might have a chance of winning. However, the words "other inappropriate subject matter" suggest that some political views are considered appropriate. That would be "viewpoint discrimination" and so a violation of the First Amendment.
25 posted on 07/06/2009 2:24:41 PM PDT by Repeal 16-17 (Let me know when the Shooting starts.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: allmendream
The law already states that the school is the de facto “parent” while the child is under their care.

Please cite that law to me.

26 posted on 07/06/2009 2:27:01 PM PDT by 2nd amendment mama ( www.2asisters.org | Self defense is a basic human right!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: library user

They should ban screenings of An Inconvenient Truth in that school too, to be consistent.

It has graphic (but simulated) depictions of New York flooding as a result of Man’s reckless disregard for the environment.


27 posted on 07/06/2009 2:27:14 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (There is no truth in the Pravda Media.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

Agreed. They need to nip it before a giant can of worms is opened. The insuing arguement would become a major distraction and disruption at the school.

I tell my people here at work not to talk about issues like this, even if they are things I agree with just to keep from starting a war.


28 posted on 07/06/2009 2:27:55 PM PDT by envisio (Sexual Beer & BBQ Ribs)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: a fool in paradise

Banned?

Surely you jest.

They’re soon to be mandatory.


29 posted on 07/06/2009 2:27:56 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: allmendream

So long as the school ALSO takes a “hands off” approach on pushing for political causes (Earth Day, Gay Pride, Communist Women’s Day...) and does not put advocacy posters into hallways.

Are Young Conservatives and Young Liberals student clubs permissible?


30 posted on 07/06/2009 2:30:19 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (There is no truth in the Pravda Media.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: 2nd amendment mama
It is a concept known as “in loco parentis” or ‘in place of a parent’.

Here is a bit of Justice Thomas’s take on it (while citing the relevant case of Lander vs Seaver)....

Justice Clarence Thomas has argued that Tinker’s ruling contradicted “the traditional understanding of the judiciary’s role in relation to public schooling,” and ignored the history of public education (127 S.Ct. 2634). He believed the judiciary’s role to determine whether students have freedom of expression was limited by in loco parentis. He cited Lander v. Seaver (1986) which held that in loco parentis allowed schools to punish student expression that the school or teacher believed contradicted the school’s interests and educational goals. This ruling declared that the only restriction the doctrine imposed were acts of legal malice or acts that caused permanent injury. Neither of these were the case with Tinker.

31 posted on 07/06/2009 2:30:23 PM PDT by allmendream ("Wealth is EARNED not distributed, so how could it be redistributed?")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

I agree with the school. Children should not be sent to school as walking billboards for any political cause, on the left or right.

If the school bans all politically based T-shirts, then it might have a chance of winning. However, the words "other inappropriate subject matter" suggest that some political views are considered appropriate. That would be "viewpoint discrimination" and so a violation of the First Amendment.

32 posted on 07/06/2009 2:30:41 PM PDT by Repeal 16-17 (Let me know when the Shooting starts.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1
Government schools, the First Amendment, and freedom of conscience are utterly incompatible. If the school allows free speech chaos reigns. If it forbids free speech it violates a God-given right.

Rather than trample the First Amendment and our God-given rights or allow chaos to reign, I have a solution:

ABOLISH GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS!

33 posted on 07/06/2009 2:31:23 PM PDT by wintertime (People are not stupid! Good ideas win!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: rawhide; 185JHP; 230FMJ; 50mm; 69ConvertibleFirebird; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee or DirtyHarryY2K to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

FreeRepublic moral absolutes keyword search
[ Add keyword moral absolutes to flag FR articles to this ping list ]


34 posted on 07/06/2009 2:32:55 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rawhide

A fetus in a womb is graphic huh? How about a picture after it’s had it’s brain sucked out?! Would that be more appropriate?


35 posted on 07/06/2009 2:37:13 PM PDT by albie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rawhide
What would happen if a student wore a T-shirt with a photo of a Rainbow flag sitting in urine or smeared with elephant dung? ( Just wondering.) It's art. Isn't it?

I think conservatives should wear whatever necessary to upset the administration into over reacting.

By using their own rules against them ( using Saul Alinsky techniques) we can squander resources and time, generate publicity, delegitimize the schools, and further drive government schooling into a deeper pit ineffectualness.

36 posted on 07/06/2009 2:38:56 PM PDT by wintertime (People are not stupid! Good ideas win!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: envisio

You mean the kids might have to think for themselves and debate the issue? We might see the end of the world if that happens. School shouldn’t be like a workplace in at least one respect; we should encourage debate and independent thinking.


37 posted on 07/06/2009 2:38:59 PM PDT by messierhunter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: dirtymac

They probably signed you up anyway.


38 posted on 07/06/2009 2:41:03 PM PDT by wintertime (People are not stupid! Good ideas win!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: albie

I was assuming they were going to say it was the latter when I read the word “graphic.” That would truly violate the “violent” provision of their dress code. Instead they rely on blanket censorship thanks to the phrase “or other inappropriate subject matter.”


39 posted on 07/06/2009 2:41:12 PM PDT by messierhunter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: allmendream
He opined long ago that perhaps the best solution is to just out and out say “A kid doesn't have 1st amendment rights at school.”
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

The best solution would be to declare all government k-12 schools in violation of the First Amendment! They are anyway.

40 posted on 07/06/2009 2:42:42 PM PDT by wintertime (People are not stupid! Good ideas win!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: allmendream
He opined long ago that perhaps the best solution is to just out and out say “A kid doesn't have 1st amendment rights at school.”

At first I was appalled at this view. But slowly but surely I am coming around to it.

I agree... mostly.

The growing problem is that public schools are increasingly insisting on overriding the parents' rights and forcing objectionable materials and viewpoints on our children.

Such restrictions on students' free speech MUST be universal if they are used. A ban on all shirts with ANY printing whatsoever (no Che, etc.) would be fair.

But then what do we do about the teachers who HAVE their 1st Amendment rights protected, who then teach our children whatever offensive viewpoint they might deem proper?

41 posted on 07/06/2009 2:45:57 PM PDT by TChris (There is no freedom without the possibility of failure.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Repeal 16-17

I’m for saying you do not have full 1st Amendment rights in elementary school. I don’t want my kids seeing uncouth t-shirts, so I am willing to have them put off wearing their own political messages.
The whole thing goes away if you bring back school uniforms. A lot of public schools around the world do that, and an increasing number of them in the US. The uniforms are more comfortable than they used to be, and they are not very expensive at Target. I’m sure kids would still try to wear provocative buttons or something, but that can be dealt with using a carefully written dress code.


42 posted on 07/06/2009 2:47:15 PM PDT by married21
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: wintertime

“They probably signed you up anyway.”

Sigh! Your probably right. Sigh again!


43 posted on 07/06/2009 2:49:18 PM PDT by dirtymac (Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country. Calling all Son's of Liberty)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: rawhide

I once ordered a Marine who showed up for field day formation in a T-shirt that said “It’s a black thing, you wouldn’t understand” to go change it and that until he did field day would not commence and everyone would remain in formation until he returned. The next day he and I were standing in front of my CO (who was black) and he asked me if I was a racist and if he thought the other Marine was a racist to which I responded...”No Sir, I thought the shirt was racist in nature and in my mind was inappropriate attire for a Marine to wear”. To which he responded “Good answer”. I was dismissed and a conversation ensued between my CO and the other Marine behind closed doors. At the next morning formation the other Marine offered a formal apology to everyone present. I never saw the shirt again.


44 posted on 07/06/2009 2:54:24 PM PDT by jadedeagle (From the desk of the Jaded Eagle!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TChris
Teachers do not have 1st Amendment protection that would prevent them getting fired for expressing their views.

The 1st Amendment is all about the government not prohibiting or criminalizing viewpoints.

But if you are hired to teach History, and then go off on the moon landings being fake, the Kennedy assassination conspiracy, the car that runs on water not gas, etc; you WILL get fired.

That being said political nutjobs can and do get where they can spread their nuttery to kids; and many find a welcoming environment to such among our “I have a degree in Education, so I know nothing except how to teach.... nothing.” education professionals.

The best solution is to be a hands on parent at your local school, home school, and educate your child.

If 50% or more of what your child “knows” came from a school teacher and not from their parents, clergy, or their own self betterment; then your child has attained a piss poor education.

45 posted on 07/06/2009 2:54:28 PM PDT by allmendream ("Wealth is EARNED not distributed, so how could it be redistributed?")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: allmendream

I think I figured out that kids don’t have any rights (freedom of speech, freedom from search and seizure, etc.) at school pretty early - while I was still IN school.

If they say say no gang colors - no gang colors. If they say no political or religious tees, no political or religious tees.

But if they allow any other politically themed garments, buttons, etc., then they have to allow this one as well.


46 posted on 07/06/2009 2:54:45 PM PDT by Little Ray (Do we have a Plan B?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Little Ray
Yep! I too first heard the phrase “in loco parentis” while in High School while they were explaining to me that demanding that I empty my pockets in front of them was not an abridgment to my right to remain free of my person papers and effects from unreasonable search and seizure.
47 posted on 07/06/2009 3:00:21 PM PDT by allmendream ("Wealth is EARNED not distributed, so how could it be redistributed?")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: rawhide

A more direct message to really piss them off could have said,

Growing - Growing - Murdered


48 posted on 07/06/2009 3:13:34 PM PDT by chiefqc
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: envisio

The argument over legalized concentration camps needs to happen in our schools if nowhere else. It is the most important human rights issue of our time, and this is the can of worms that has been sealed up for far too long. Time to go on offense.


49 posted on 07/06/2009 3:23:25 PM PDT by Clump (the tree of liberty is withering like a stricken fig tree)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

If they can teach gay sex ed in grammar schools they should be allowed to wear that t-shirt.


50 posted on 07/06/2009 3:51:57 PM PDT by Titus-Maximus (Light from Light)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-64 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson