Principal Tucker of Nichols Middle School opened a can of worms when she demanded a seventh-grade boy remove his shirt or be expelled. Twelve-year-old Liam Morrison told Fox News he was singled out and reprimanded by school officials because his T-shirt read: “There are only two genders.”
Despite an articulate speech before school officials, Liam shared that he has not complained that the school has allowed diversity-affirming and LGBTQ+ posters and banners, stating that everyone has a right to their opinion. He then noted that he should have the right to express his opinion and that his opinion “is based on fact.”
A month later, on May 5, Liam wore a shirt to school that read, “There are censored genders.” School officials again told the seventh grader to remove his shirt.
The Morrison family believes the school violated Liam’s First Amendment rights and is now working with the Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI) to bring a lawsuit against Nichols Middle School.
School attorneys informed MFI it would continue enforcing the policy.
Liam recalled to Fox News what happened the second time he was forced to remove his shirt: “So what happened is very, very shortly after I arrived, I was actually a bit early, is just as the school was opening up— it didn’t really take long for someone to walk into my homeroom and [someone] to tell me, ‘Hey, I need you to follow me.'”
Liam added: “And knowing the shirt I was wearing and even though how different it was, I figured out that they would probably want me to come to the principal’s office. And after I had followed them, I went to the room that they told me to, and I already took my shirt off because I knew that that’s what they were going to ask me to do.”
School officials told Liam his shirt was offending other students, but after news of what happened swept through the school, Liam reports that more of his classmates have respect for him.
Sam Whiting, an attorney for MFI, told Fox News he expects a lawsuit to be filed “in the near future,” adding, “We believe that we’re going to get a win on this. I mean, I really can’t think of a better fact pattern to vindicate a student’s First Amendment rights,” he said.
Whiting continued, “Liam did everything correctly in this situation. He hasn’t disrupted anything. He hasn’t harassed anyone. And yet they’re still censoring him just because they don’t like what his shirt had to say.
“And that’s made even more obvious by the fact that they made him take off a censored version of the shirt,” added the attorney. “It didn’t even say anything about gender. It just made a statement about censorship. And because Liam was wearing it, they made him take it off again.”
MFI is arguing that the school “pretty clearly” censored Liam due to his “political and cultural viewpoint” on a topic of “widespread debate right now in the public square.”
Whiting added: “Liam has the same right in school to discuss that as he would anywhere else, as long as he’s not causing a disruption that, you know, affects the operations of the school.”
MFI warned that school officials would soon receive a summons from a federal court.
Liam emphasized to school officials and Fox News that his T-shirt “was not directed toward any specific person or group — especially people who identify as “lesbian or gay or transgender or anything like that.”
“I’m just voicing my opinion about a statement that I believe to be true,” added Liam. “And I feel like some people may think that I’m imposing hate speech, even though it’s not directed towards anyone.”
The young man ended the interview with a challenge to all who believe their First Amendment rights are being violated.
“Always fight for what you believe in and well, never let anyone stop you from believing really. To be honest, in the place that we live, or in the time that we live, there are a lot of people that try and make it so that you’re not allowed to believe what you can.
“But, it’s being taken away from us. And being able to speak up not just about your own, being able to voice your opinion, but for everybody else.”
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