Wolcott High School student told to remove anti-gay T-shirt - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Wolcott High School student told to remove anti-gay T-shirt

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut said it has sent a letter to the principal of Wolcott High School on behalf of a student who was told to remove an anti-gay T-shirt while at school.

Wolcott High School junior Seth Groody said he was required to remove the shirt that was bearing an anti-gay message.

The ACLU said that type of censorship violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article First, Sections 4 and 5, of the Constitution of Connecticut.

Groody wore the T-shirt on April 20, which was designated as a Day of Silence at Wolcott High School as part of a national movement to raise awareness of bullying and harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.

One side of Groody's shirt depicted a rainbow, the commonly recognized symbol of gay rights, with a slash through it.

The other side showed a male stick figure and a female stick figure holding hands above the legend, "Excessive Speech Day."  

According to Groody, he was ordered to remove the T-shirt and did so under protest.

"The First Amendment was written to protect unpopular speech, which is naturally the kind of speech that will always need protection," said Sandra Staub, legal director of the ACLU of Connecticut. "The ACLU has fought hard for same-sex marriage and we couldn't agree with Seth less on that issue, but he is absolutely correct about his right to express his opinion.

Groody said the shirt was intended to express his dislike for gay rights and his opposition to the school's message during the Day of Silence.

"The impulse to suppress ideas that we find unpleasant is antithetical to freedom and democracy. That's why the ACLU of Ohio stood up in 2006 for the rights of students to wear T-shirts supporting same-sex marriage and the ACLU of Connecticut must stand up in 2012 for the rights of students to express the opposite sentiment."

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