Attorney: New news is basically no news in t-shirt case

Attorney: New news is basically no news in t-shirt case

Liam Morrison, shown giving a speech to school board members, sued his school after he was forced to remove a "two genders" t-shirt.

Attorney: New news is basically no news in t-shirt case

A court has denied a Massachusetts seventh-grader's free speech request following a legal battle over his t-shirt that says "There are only two genders." But the case is far from over.

As reported last month by AFN (here and here), 12-year-old Liam Morrison sued the Town of Middleborough after he was forced to remove the shirt, which the school administration argued made others feel "unsafe." Logan Spena is an attorney at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the law firm representing the student. He says yesterday's ruling only involved a temporary restraining order.

"That's kind of an emergency order that would have immediately allowed Liam to go back to school wearing the shirt he wants to wear. The court denied that particular request," the attorney explains, "but it is still considering whether it might let him wear that shirt before the end of this school year.

Spena, Logan (ADF attorney) Spena

"So, it invited the parties – both us and the school – to provide additional written material to the court, and then it's going to hold another hearing on June 13."

The goal, says Spena, is to render a decision before the end of the school year on June 26. "So, we will get to find out whether Liam will actually be able to express himself before the end of this school year," he adds.

According to Spena, "all that happened" Wednesday was the court essentially saying it wasn't going to decide on the case yet.

After being told he could not wear a t-shirt saying there are only two genders, Morrison went to school another day wearing a t-shirt displaying the message: "There are censored genders." That, too, was frowned upon by the school.

"One thing the court indicated at the hearing was that it was especially troubled by the school's decision to protest, to censor, not just speech about gender but speech protesting the fact that there was censorship about gender," the attorney adds.

"… No matter what you think about gender or sexual orientation, when school districts are censoring speech not just on the issue but protesting acts of censorship, I think every student should be interested in seeing that kind of abuse of power corrected."

L.M. v. Town of Middleborough is filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

6/2/2023 - Final comment from Attorney Spena added.