The Thomas More Law Center, a national public-interest law firm, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced today that it has filed a federal lawsuit defending the Constitutional rights of a sixth grader to wear t-shirts to school that express his pro-life beliefs. The lawsuit was filed in the U. S. District Court for the District of Minnesota against the Hutchinson Middle School located in Hutchinson, Minnesota.The sixth grader, referred to in the lawsuit as “K. B.” because of his age, is a Christian who believes that abortion is the wrongful taking of an innocent life and a grave offense to the Law of God.
School officials, including the principal and several teachers, on over a dozen occasions during April 2008, told “K. B.” not to wear the t-shirts, publicly singled him out for ridicule in front of his classmates, removed him from class, sent him to the principal’s office, forced him to turn his pro-life t-shirt inside out, and threatened him with suspension if he did not stop wearing the offending pro-life t-shirts.
During the period in question, “K. B.” wore three different t-shirts, all produced by the American Life League, a national Pro-Life advocacy group. The t-shirts contained such pro-life messages as, “Abortion… growing, growing, gone,” “What part of abortion don’t you understand?” and, “Never Known – Not Forgotten.”
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, commented, “This courageous young Christian was ridiculed and threatened by teachers for expressing his deeply held beliefs. These school officials clearly violated the U. S. Constitution and the school’s own written Dress Policy which specifically states it is not intended to abridge the rights of students to express political or religious messages.”
The Thomas More Law Center is being assisted by Minnesota attorney Paul Taylor, an affiliated attorney with the Law Center.
Brandon Bolling, the Law Center attorney assigned as lead counsel stated, “The Supreme Court has held it permissible for public schools to limit student speech only when there is an actual and substantial disruption of school activity. That is not the case here. The only people who took issue with the Pro-Life t-shirts were the school’s employees – in fact, if any one caused any disruption, it was the school’s employees, by their constant public harassment of our client because they disagreed with his pro-life message.”