A 12-year-old student was sent home from school in Middleborough, Massachusetts, after he refused to change the t-shirt he was wearing that said: – There are only two genders. There are only two genders.
Liam Morrison, a seventh-grader at Nichols Middle School, said he was pulled out of gym class on March 21 and met with school staff who told him people complained about the message on his T-shirt and that it made them feel unsafe.
During the school board’s committee meeting on 13 April, he spoke to speechless and paralyzed committee members about how he was treated by the leaders at the school:
Yes, words on a shirt made people feel unsafe. They told me I wasn’t in trouble, but it felt like I was. I was told I had to take my shirt off before I could go back to class. When I told them nicely that I didn’t want to do it, they called my dad.
Thankfully, my dad, supportive of my decisions, came to pick me up. What did my shirt say? Five simple words: There are only two genders. Nothing harmful. Nothing threatening. Just a statement I believe to be a fact, he said. (Fox News)
Morrison added that he was told his shirt targeted a protected group and was disruptive to teaching:
Who is this protected class? Are their feelings more important than my rights? he asked. – I don’t complain when I see Pride flags and diversity posters hung throughout the school. Do you know why? Because others have a right to their beliefs, just as I do, he said. (Fox News)
Liam tells how he experiences disruption every day at school. Children who act out, but nothing is done:
I was told that the shirt was a disruption to learning. No one got up and stormed out of class. No one burst into tears. I’m sure I would have noticed if they had. I experience disruptions to my learning every day. Kids acting out in class are a disruption, yet nothing is done. Why do the rules apply to one yet not another? (Fox News)
This is what courage looks like and I know how he feels.
I keep a sign outside my office in the Cannon building that says, “There are only two genders.”
🧵thread continued https://t.co/9AqLAACJbC
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) April 30, 2023
Liam went on to say that not one person told him directly that they were bothered by the words on his shirt and that other students had told him they supported his actions. Morrison told the committee that he felt the school told him it was not OK for him to have an opposing viewpoint and that he did not go to school that day to hurt feelings or cause trouble.
I have learned a lot from this experience. I learned that a lot of other students share my view. I learned that adults don’t always do the right thing or make the right decisions. I know that I have a right to wear a shirt with those five words. Even at 12 years old, I have my own political opinions and I have a right to express those opinions. Even at school. This right is called the First Amendment to the Constitution, he stated. (Fox News)
Liam hopes his speech will lead to the school board doing something about the matter and that they will stand up for him and others so they can speak out without being pulled out of class:
My hope in being here tonight is to bring the School Committee’s attention to this issue. I hope that you will speak up for the rest of us, so we can express ourselves without being pulled out of class. Next time, it may not only be me. There might be more soon that decide to speak out.
Middle school student allegedly sent home for refusing to change shirt that said ‘There are only two genders’ (Fox News)
For some reason, this song by Bette Midler came to mind.