Anticipating feedback from his fellow students, Liam Morrison donned a t-shirt at Nichols Middle School (NMS) bearing the message "There are only two genders."
Nonetheless, Liam Morrison reported that his peers at Nichols Middle School (NMS) responded to his t-shirt with a predominantly favorable attitude. "Both my homeroom and gym class were very supportive of my decision," the 12-year-old shared with Fox News Digital, further adding that no student approached him directly to express offense or feelings of insecurity due to his shirt.
On March 21, during his gym class, Liam was instructed to remove his shirt as several students and staff had purportedly lodged complaints against it. However, when he politely declined to do so, school officials contacted his father to collect him from school.
According to an email examined by Fox News Digital, Middleborough Public Schools Superintendent Carolyn Lyons asserted that Liam Morrison had breached the dress code by wearing his t-shirt. More specifically, the superintendent contended that the "content of Liam’s shirt targeted students of a protected class; namely in the area of gender identity."
He wore the shirt because he was expressing his desire to exercise his First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
"The reason that I wore it is because, well, everyone has a right to their opinions and I want to be able to voice mine on a subject that a lot of people were talking about," he explained. "I definitely don't like that they violated what is basically the first thing that the people who were in charge of America at the time stated we were allowed to do and nowadays it feels like that's being taken away a lot, which is why some people choose to speak up about it. It's not just me."
Liam Morrison, 12 years old, is smarter and BRAVER than most of our “leaders.” pic.twitter.com/5LO3hgayyO
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) May 1, 2023
On Monday, the Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI), an impartial public policy organization, dispatched a letter of demand to NMS in which they outlined how the school had infringed upon Morrison's constitutional right to freedom of speech.
According to Sam Whiting, a staff attorney for the organization and one of the lawyers representing the Morrison family, the school's actions constitute a "pretty clear case of censorship." Whiting communicated this sentiment to Fox News Digital.
"There's case law dating all the way back to the 1960s and maybe even before that states very clearly from the Supreme Court that students don't lose their right to free speech when they walk in the schoolhouse door. And that's exactly what the school was trying to do here. You know, Liam was trying to express his opinion on a topic that is controversial in our culture right now. It's a political topic. A lot of people have different opinions on it. But they said that opinion, you know, is not authorized in school and so you're not allowed to state it," he said.
"And so, you know, here they're trying to say that some students complained or were upset about Liam's shirt. But the law is clear that other students being upset about something that you say doesn't even come close to causing that kind of substantial disruption that would justify them clamping down on your free speech rights," he said.
Morrison disclosed that if a fellow student had approached him and communicated that his shirt had caused offense, he would have responded by stating, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, just like I am." Furthermore, he shared that if someone asked him why he chose to wear the shirt, he would have replied, "Because I have the right to express myself."
He also expressed his intention to wear the shirt to school on May 5, stating that he was "fully prepared" to do so.
Thursday afternoon, Stoneman, Chandler & Miller LLP, the legal representation for the school district, notified both Whiting and Morrison's family that the school intends to persist with their current course of action and "prohibit the wearing of a t-shirt by Liam Morrison or anyone else which is likely to be considered discriminatory, harassing and/or bullying to others including those who are gender nonconforming by suggesting that their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression does not exist or is invalid."
Whiting shared that the Morrison family is readying to pursue legal measures against the school and that Liam intends to make a potent statement against censorship by "wearing something to school [on Friday] that will make a strong statement about censorship."
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