In a case that has been underway since 2004, U.S. District Judge John Houston ruled Tuesday in favor of school officials who pulled Tyler Chase Harper from class for wearing an anti-gay T-shirt.
“Tyler Harper sued the Poway Unified School District in 2004 alleging his freedom of speech and religion rights were violated when he was pulled out of class earlier that year. The self-described Christian wore a shirt during the school ‘Day of Silence,’ which is intended to promote tolerance of gays and lesbians. The shirt said ‘I Will Not Accept What God Has Condemned’ on one side and ‘Homosexuality is Shameful, Romans 1:27’ on the other. Harper was removed from class, but not otherwise disciplined. His suit was aimed at a school district policy aimed at eliminating ‘hate behavior’ that offended students in certain minority groups based on race, gender or sexual preference.”
After Harper graduated, the case continued with his sister Kelsie as a replacement plaintiff.
In Tuesday’s ruling, Houston “wrote that a school ‘interest in protecting homosexual students from harassment is a legitimate pedagogical concern that allows a school to restrict speech expressing damaging statements about sexual orientation and limiting students to expressing their views in a positive manner.'”
The San Diego Union Tribune adds: “While the school district has won three previous rulings, lawyers for the students and free speech activists said Houston’s ruling has the potential of greatly expanding school officials’ power to censor student speech.”
Poway again wins free speech decision over anti-gay T-shirt [san diego union tribune]
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