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Student Pro-LIfe T-Shirt Wearer Wins Suit!

Score this as one for the good guys and a victory for free speech!

In the immortal words of Edna Mode: Go! Confront the problem. Fight! Win!

FRESNO, Calif. In a victory for pro-life speech in public school, a federal court entered a judgment Thursday against a California elementary school and three school officials for violating the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights of a 6th grade student who wore a T-shirt opposing abortion.

Los Angeles attorney William J. Becker, Jr., of The Becker Law Firm, assisted by the Thomas More Law Center, filed suit after school officials barred Tiffany Amador from wearing her pro-life T-shirt at McSwain Union Elementary School, a kindergarten through 8th grade school located in Merced, north of Fresno.

“This judgment represents a victory for the right to speak out against abortion,” said Becker. “Public school students are not forbidden from proclaiming the value of life under the First Amendment. The school has done the right thing by avoiding a trial and allowing a judgment to be entered in favor of this student on all claims. All Americans, no matter their age, are free to exercise their constitutional right to speak out against the barbarism of on-demand abortion, and that includes public school students who do so in a non-disruptive manner.”

On April 29, 2008, Amador wore a shirt sponsored by the American Life League, an organization opposed to abortion and that annually sponsors a National Pro-Life T-shirt Week. The shirt, which was given to her by her church, prominently featured the word “ABORTION” over a series of panels, two of which depicted endoscopic pictures of a baby developing in the womb and the third filled in with black. The caption read, “growing…growing…gone.” Amador testified in the case that she wore the shirt to school because she wanted other students to known that “abortion is wrong.”

The school claimed the images of the baby were “disruptive” to the school environment because of their “graphic nature” but could not explain what made them so graphic that they would have caused any disruption, much less a substantial one, as the U.S. Supreme Court has held is required before a school can infringe upon a student’s expressive rights.

In addition to claiming that her First Amendment right of expression was violated, Amador, who has since graduated from the 8th grade, alleged in the lawsuit that her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure was violated when the school’s secretary forcefully pulled her into the principal’s office because of her T-shirt.

“Public school employees work for the government,” Becker said. “Any time a school official uses physical force to suppress non-disruptive student expression, the government has gone way too far in enforcing its own political views.”

The lawsuit also sought vindication of Amador’s 14th Amendment right of equal protection. The judgment was entered on all claims.

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17 comments:

Anonymous said...

They did lose the lawsuit, but they have put a new dress code in place, which does not allow ANY type of writing or message on clothing, except a one inch label that may show the logo of the manufacturer who produced the clothing. Lose the lawsuit, then squelch all speech.

Tim H. said...

I'd like to see a shirt with one black panel which reads "Contraception... The life planned by God which never was."

I hope the good guys who believe in free speech realize that you cannot both use contraception and be pro-life.

-Tim-

Rick said...

Good news. At least, courts still uphold Constitutional rights.

On the side, it is a sad commentary though when law makers make laws that are unconstitutional e.g. Obamacare and the like. Either they are ignorant of the Constitutional parameters or too mentally challenged as to work within those parameters or worse, if they willfully try to breach those limits to further their agenda.

bthomas said...

Having won on all claims, a suit on Amador’s behalf should how be filed against the school district and those employees who acted to violate her Constitutional rights. A money judgement should be sought in an amount sufficient to send a message to any and all persons who in a similar manner would presume to misuse/abuse their authority to silence political speech.

Anonymous said...

"Wins suit" -- cool! The suit will look fine with a tee! :)

-- Mack

Early Riser said...

BThomas - absolutely agreed. Schools are so strapped for cash that a large monetary judgement would absolutely send a message that they cannot be run like personal fiefdoms and are still subject to the constitution.

God bless this girl. Most likely, she knew wearing the shirt would at least direct scorn her way, and at most ostracise her from teachers and peers. Well-placed, self-confident motivation and conviction is extremely rare in her generation/age group. I would not be surprised if she is indeed destined for great things.

Anonymous said...

God bless this girl. Most likely, she knew wearing the shirt would at least direct scorn her way, and at most ostracise her from teachers and peers. Well-placed, self-confident motivation and conviction is extremely rare in her generation/age group. I would not be surprised if she is indeed destined for great things.

Perhaps. As a mother of teens myself, however, I can say that given the current immoral state of our youth culture, sometimes stereotypical "teenage rebellion" can work in my favor as a parent, i.e. refusing to wear trampy, revealing clothes, not supporting abortion, etc., simply as a way of standing out from the crowd...

Early Riser said...

Anon - Howabout at least a "good on 'ya" for this girl? Regardless if her T-shirt was a manifestation of teen rebelion (very doubtful), she did the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I meant the girl no disrespect at all. I'm delighted she wore the shirt. I certainly hope (and suspect) that she inspired and encouraged some of her like-minded, but timid, schoolmates. It's just the "destined for great things" that struck me as a tad overenthusiastic...

Early Riser said...

Anon - I said I wouldn't be surprised at it. I know this experience cannot have been at all easy on her, so if nothing else it was a growth/character-building one which she happened upon at an earlier age than most. I'm reminded of the Lila Rose video series. To me, these are "great things" as well.

Your children (and mine) too may be destined for it. As parents we have to be optimistic and enthusiastic, don't we?

Shacoria Robinson said...

Good For Here

Anonymous said...

See how the libs at the public school reacted? They reacted in typical lib, draconian form to wit, they now have a blanket prohibition on shirts that say anything, because, God forbid the 1st amendment be used to defend life. I am sure the thought-police at the public school never thought of having this 'anti-message-on-clothing' policy when the 4th graders had the soft-core porn images/messages of pop stars on t-shirts, or free advertising for the NBA and NFL on kids' clothes. Neither did they ever think of having such a ban when there was a left-wing political message (ever see the useful idiot teenager wearing a Marxist t-shirt bearing the image of Che Guevara or Bob Marley?) Don't think for a minute that the school is anti-first amendment. They're not. They are against the first amendement protecting pro-life and conservative free speech. That's why they put the policy in place. Bottom-line: We need vouchers to topple the left-wing junta that controls education in this country which can not be be trusted to be fair and impartial in the education of the youth.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame he wasn't advocating the ENTIRE pro-life agenda and include the Church's stance against the death penalty and wars of choice...

But then again, this is ALL about politics and nothing about faith.

The name calling continues.

Anonymous said...

I am the Anon who posted the 8-15-10 2:25 p.m. post and I think the 8-15-10 3:57 p.m. ("3:57") post was in reaction to my post. Not sure though since 3:57 is: 1) computer illiterate (apparently didn't know to quote me); 2) ignorant, as 3:57 used the pronoun "he" which is wrong; 3) judgmental and rash since 3:57 assumes I do not follow the Church's teaching on all life issues, whereas I do; and 4) politically and spiritually naive since 3:57 thinks anyone who holds to the ideas I espoused is just making political comments and is devoid of faith. The judgmental streak in the hypocritical-left always amazes me.

Lynn said...

Um, there's only so much real estate on a t-shirt. . .

"Anonymous said...

It's a shame he wasn't advocating the ENTIRE pro-life agenda and include the Church's stance against the death penalty and wars of choice...

But then again, this is ALL about politics and nothing about faith.

The name calling continues. "

Morrie said...

and consider the scale of the problem - 800,000 - 1.2 million abortions per year in the U.S. versus 100 or so executions.



Lynn said...
Um, there's only so much real estate on a t-shirt. . .

"Anonymous said...

It's a shame he wasn't advocating the ENTIRE pro-life agenda and include the Church's stance against the death penalty and wars of choice...

But then again, this is ALL about politics and nothing about faith.

The name calling continues. "

Clay Boggess said...

This is definitely a victory for free speech! Regardless of you views on this sensitive and volatile subject, this girl has a right to express her views in an appropriate manner.

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