Main | Tuesday, December 16, 2008

ACLU Backs Student Over Prop 8 T-Shirt

From Big Bear City, California:
Big Bear High School student Mariah Jimenez should be allowed to wear the "Prop. 8 Equals Hate" T-shirt she was banned from wearing on campus, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The 16-year-old sophomore, who is her class president, wore the tie-dyed T-shirt to school on Nov. 3, the day before voters approved the constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage in California.

Mariah's sixth-period teacher, Sue Reynolds, ordered her to remove the shirt during a meeting of the Associated Student Body. When Mariah protested, Reynolds sent her to the principal's office. "She said I shouldn't be wearing such divisive shirts, and my shirt draws a line down the school," said Mariah, who also plays on her school's golf and softball teams and has been involved in school politics since seventh grade. Principal Michael Ghelber gave Mariah an ultimatum: Remove the shirt or remain in his office. Under protest, Mariah changed shirts and returned to class. Then, she went to the ACLU. "I would really appreciate the acknowledgment that my rights were violated, because when it comes down to it, that's what happened," Mariah said.
The school sent a letter to Mariah's mother stating that it was protecting her personal safety by disallowing the t-shirt. In other words, they admit that they cannot protect a student from physical harm due to political beliefs.

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