Appeals court hearing middle schooler's case

Appeals court hearing middle schooler's case

Appeals court hearing middle schooler's case

An eighth grader in Massachusetts is back in court this week fighting for his right to express his opinion on gender.

Last year, when Liam Morrison was told he could not wear a t-shirt to Nichols Middle School that read, "There are only two genders," he later arrived on campus wearing a t-shirt saying, "There are [censored] genders." He was a 12-year-old seventh grader at the time.

His attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) say the school allows other messages on sex and gender.

"His school has 'Pride' events," notes attorney Logan Spena. "They invite students to wear their 'Pride' gear to school. It has 'Pride' flags in the hallways and posters that say things like, 'Support Trans and Gender Nonconforming Kids.' So, he was silenced for that speech, even though other students are allowed to express their views on similar issues."

He adds that Morrison's classmates have largely supported him.

Spena, Logan (ADF attorney) Spena

"The only downside for him has been the fact that he just can't express the messages he wants to express at school, and that's been consistent since the district court ruled against him," the attorney relays. "So, that restriction of his speech from officials is going on, but he is not facing open hostility or a negative environment as a result of what's happened, and he's actually received a lot of support, both from his classmates and from folks around the country."

A district court judge ruled last year in favor of the school. ADF appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, which is hearing arguments today, and Spena says everyone should take note of this case.

"If you are an American, and you care about the First Amendment, and you care about the rights of students in school, then this is an issue that should absolutely concern you," he submits.

The case is known as Morrison v. Town of Middleborough.