Calif: 7th Grader Ordered by Principal to Remove Pro-Life T-Shirt on "Nat'l Pro-Life T-Shirt Day

http://action.afa.net/Detail.aspx?id=2147485843 Fox News reported yesterday that a seventh-grade girl in California was ordered by her school principal to remove her pro-life T-shirt on "National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day." The T-shirt depicted two graphic pictures of a fetus growing in the womb.

The incident apparently took place in April, 2008, at McSwain Elementary School, a K-8 school in Merced, California. Anna Amador, mother of the child, says that Principal Terrie Rohrer, Asst. Principal C.W. Smith and clerk Martha Hernandez denied her daughter's First Amendment rights by ordering her to leave the cafeteria and remove her shirt.

The lawsuit alleges that:

"Before Plaintiff could eat [breakfast] she was ordered by a school staff member to throw her food out and report immediately to Defendant Smith's office, located in the main office of McSwain Elementary School."

"Upon arriving at the main office, Defendant Hernandez, intentionally and without Plaintiff's consent, grabbed Plaintiff's arm and forcibly escorted her toward Smith's office, at all times maintaining a vice-like grip on Plaintiff's arm. Hernandez only released Plaintiff's arm after physically locating her in front of Smith and Defendant Rohrer...

"Smith and Rohrer ordered Plaintiff to remove her pro-life T-shirt and instructed Plaintiff to never wear her pro-life T-shirt at McSwain Elementary School ever again. . . [c]ompletely humiliated and held out for ridicule, Plaintiff complied with Defendants' directives and removed her pro-life T-shirt, whereupon, Defendants seized and confiscated it. Defendants did not return Plaintiff's property until the end of the school day."

The school is disputing the allegations, saying that the legal complaint doesn't accurately "characterize the events that happened." However, a district court judge ruled just last month that the all Amador's claims could move forward except one.

The school claims that Amador's daughter was asked to remove her shirt because it contained "inappropriate subject matter" which violated the school's dress code, which apparently bans clothing with "suggestion of tobacco, drug or alcohol use, sexual promiscuity, profanity, vulgarity, or other inappropriate subject matter."

This is ironic, because the girl's lawyer points out that the images contained on her T-shirt of a fetus in the womb were the same as those in her science textbooks. No student complained about the shirt, and the girl's parents were not even called when the incident happened.

I am betting that the girl will win her case against the school, especially since the 1969 Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District ruled in favor of the right of public school student to wear black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. If kids can protest the war, they should certainly be able to wear a T-shirt protesting abortion. As Amador's attorney William Becker points out, "The message of the T-shirt is that life is sacred. One would be very hard pressed to find anything wrong with that particular idea, except that some people do object to the political message.”