A high school student in Northern California is filing a lawsuit against two of her school’s administrators after she was told that her “Nobody Knows I’m a Lesbian” shirt was being disruptive.
The teen, identified by the initials “T.V.,” and her mother filed the suit in federal court charging that assistant principal Dan Beukelman and vice principal Greg Leland of Sierra High School in Manteca, Calif., violated both her state and federal constitutional rights by not letting her wear the shirt during school hours and subsequently sending her home for it, reports Courthouse News Service. The administrators claimed the shirt was “promoting sex” and “an open invitation to sex,” according to the suit.
“Public schools can't censor the political beliefs of students, and free speech is not subject to the whims and biases of school administrators,” American Civil Liberties Union attorney Christine Sun, the teen’s legal counsel, told Courthouse News. “This student's school should be teaching her to think for herself, not punishing her for being herself.”
A similar incident happened earlier this year in South Carolina when Chesnee High School senior Briana Popour was asked to change her T-shirt (one that bore the same “Nobody Knows I’m a Lesbian” message) by a school administrator and was suspended after refusing to do so.
“Isn’t that what school is supposed to teach you? To be happy with who you are?” Popour told local TV station WSPA at the time of her incident. “Maybe people will be more comfortable showing who they are because you should be able to wear what you want to wear.”