Connect with us


Oral arguments issued in case where Massachusetts 12-year-old suing school over right to wear shirt



Photo courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom

BOSTON – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys issued oral arguments Thursday at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit in L.M. v. Town of Middleborough.

In the case, ADF attorneys are representing Liam Morrison, a middle-school student who was forbidden by his school from wearing a T-shirt to school that said, “There are only two genders” and then was changed to say, “There are [censored] genders.”

ADF attorneys are asking the court to rule that Nichols Middle School in Middleborough violated the First Amendment when it stopped the student from wearing his shirts to school. They are also asking the court to stop the school from enforcing what they call an unconstitutional dress code policy that discriminates against students based on the viewpoint they express.

“Students don’t lose their free speech rights the moment they walk into a school building,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Vice President of U.S. Litigation David Cortman, who argued before the court. “This case isn’t about T-shirts; it’s about a public school telling a middle-schooler that he isn’t allowed to express a view that differs from their own. The school actively promotes its view about gender through posters and ‘Pride’ events. And it encourages other students to wear T-shirts expressing messages about gender. At the end of last school year, another student wore a shirt that said, ‘He she they, it’s all okay.’ That was allowed, even though just a few weeks before they punished L.M. for his ‘There are only two genders’ shirt simply because it did not align with their preferred beliefs. We are urging the court to rule that free speech belongs to all, not some.”

Attorneys with ADF and Massachusetts Family Institute filed the lawsuit in May of last year on behalf of the student after he wore the “There are only two genders” T-shirt to school to share his belief that there are only two sexes, male and female—and that a person’s gender—their status as a boy or girl, woman or man—is inextricably tied to biological sex. The principal of the school, along with a school counselor, pulled the student out of class and ordered him to remove his shirt. After he politely declined, school officials said that he must remove the shirt to return to class. As a result, the student left school and missed the rest of his classes that day.

Morrison then chose to wear an altered shirt that read, “There are [censored] genders” to protest the fact that only some messages about gender are allowed. As soon as he arrived at school, his teacher told him to go to the principal’s office, where he was told that he could not wear that shirt either.

ADF attorneys stated that they appealed to the 1st Circuit in September and received support from 16 states and multiple advocacy groups in favor of the student’s freedom of speech.

According to NBC10 Boston, transgender rights activist Mason Dunn stated that a pride flag and a shirt denying gender identity are not comparable as the shirt could incite violence. “Messages of pride are messages of support, messages of affirmation, not messages of hate or bias,” Dunn said.

Boston 25 News stated that GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders filed legal documents to aid the court in the case.

“As the school said, the truth of the matter is they have a diverse student body. There are trans and non-binary students at the school, and they have as much a legal obligation to equal and positive learning environment for those students as to any other student,” said Attorney Mary Bonauto of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders.



  1. 1984

    February 8, 2024 at 9:15 pm

    Boy did I call it George Orwell

    • EmmanuelGoldstein

      February 10, 2024 at 10:09 pm

      Hi there Eric Blair.

  2. Fed Up

    February 9, 2024 at 9:42 am

    ” As the shirt could incite violence ” People’s unalienable rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States are NOT depended on people’s misuse. You can’t deny people’s second amendment rights because criminals misuse firearms and you cannot take away people’s rights to their first amendment because you don’t like what they’re saying or it’s designated as ” hate speech ” by some far left lunatics.

  3. FreedomorDeath

    February 9, 2024 at 2:14 pm

    Bow down to the letter God’s. If you don’t you will face Antifa the fascist Nazi group originally known as Hitlers Brownshirts. Disclaimer: We Patriotic Americans are not in fear of any antifa cowards. We will not hide behind masks publicly like the fascist antifashistas who regularly commit assaults and property crimes against vulnerable members of society. These militant letter God’s are the real fascists, attempting to ban speech that exposes their insane beliefs. Anything less than complete repudiation against censorship is a crime against unalienable rights. Self censorship is a choice left to the individual. If you don’t like something, remove yourself from exposure to it. Stop trying to placate to brain damaged non-sentient betas.

  4. Barrack Warren

    February 9, 2024 at 6:37 pm

    I feel bad for this child. I agree that he has the right to wear what he wants but it’s terrible his parents are essentially destroying his ability to be a normal kid with friends is very sad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Copyright © 2017 Fall River Reporter

Translate »