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Zet
October 5th, 2011, 01:33 AM
source (http://www.aclu.org/free-speech-lgbt-rights/tennessee-high-school-student-principal-assaulted-me-wearing-t-shirt)

MADISONVILLE, Tenn. – A 17-year-old senior at Sequoyah High School was reportedly shoved, bumped in the chest and verbally harassed by his principal last week for wearing a T-shirt in support of efforts to establish a gay-straight alliance (GSA) club on campus. In response, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Tennessee sent a letter to the school district today demanding that students’ rights to free speech be protected in the classroom.

The ACLU has been assisting the student, Chris Sigler, in his and other students’ efforts to overcome resistance from school officials to establish a GSA. Principal Maurice Moser had previously threatened to punish students who circulated petitions about the club.

“It is totally unacceptable that a young man who was peacefully exercising his First Amendment rights would have his speech shut down by the public school principal,” said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee. “Last week’s incident clearly illustrates the hostile environment LGBT students face at Sequoyah High School. Given this context, it’s especially important that supportive voices like Sigler’s can be heard in order to overcome the school’s resistance to a GSA.”

Sigler wore a homemade T-shirt to school last Tuesday that said “GSA: We’ve Got Your Back.” A teacher ordered Sigler to cover up the shirt in the future. Sigler, knowing he had a right to wear the shirt, wore it again Friday, and resisted an order to remove the shirt. Sigler says that Moser then ordered all students out of the classroom, except for Sigler’s sister Jessica, who refused to leave. According to both students, Moser then grabbed Sigler’s arm, shoved him, and chest-bumped him repeatedly while asking “Who’s the big man now?” Sigler’s mother reported that when she arrived at the school, she saw her son seated in a desk with Moser leaning over him and shouting in Sigler’s face. The Siglers filed a report about the incident that afternoon with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.

“All I want is to have a GSA at my school to help stop the bullying against gays and lesbians and their friends who support them,” Sigler said. “The shirt was a way to use my voice and show my support for the club. The way I was treated shows even more why we need a GSA here.”

“All students deserve a safe and respectful learning environment. Harassment, abuse or censorship of any student – regardless of sexual orientation – is absolutely reprehensible as well as illegal,” said Amanda Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “We expect the police to investigate this quickly and fairly, and take statements from all witnesses who were present.”

The demand letter to the school district can be viewed here: www.aclu.org/free-speech-lgbt-rights/letter-director-monroe-county-schools

The ACLU of Tennessee's associated alert can be viewed here: http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/6147/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=4824

Correction: An earlier version of this press release indicated that the Siglers filed a report with the Madisonville Police Department. It has been corrected to reflect the correct agency, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.
Tennessee why are you such a bible-thumping state?

Even though I am mortified at what happened, I really can't blame what happened considering it was in Tennessee, and it is such a gay-hating bible-thumping state. Though I honestly do hope that principal is removed from that school and replaced with someone who will allow that kid to wear the t-shirt(and of course allow a GSA club).

FreakyLocz14
October 5th, 2011, 01:55 AM
The lawyer in me smells a surefire win for this kid.

Really, they have no choice in the matter. T-shirts are a valid form of 1st Amendment expression, and forming a club is protected by the right to freedom of assembly (Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503). He can pursue relief under 42 U.S.C. section 2000(c).

That principal should be sued for every penny he's worth.

Esper
October 5th, 2011, 08:19 AM
TennesseePrincipal Maurice Moser had previously threatened to punish students who circulated petitions about the club.Moser then grabbed Sigler’s arm, shoved him, and chest-bumped him repeatedly while asking “Who’s the big man now?”This is the same state where the "Don't Say Gay" bill was proposed which would make teachers basically have to pretend that homosexuality doesn't exist up through the 8th grade. Clearly, this principal didn't feel like waiting around.

It's scary that a grown adult would feel the need to do this to a student to satisfy his macho ego. I hope he's fired, but of course it's Tennessee so they'll probably give him a big pat on the back or something. Even if in this idiot's mind this was just a case of a student doing something he was told not to do it's totally inappropriate.

marz
October 5th, 2011, 08:26 AM
Well since it's gotten this much coverage, that principle will undoubtedly get fired and I suppose that's one less enemy (and a big one at that) for the hopefully upcoming GSA club at Sequoyah High.

It's a shame that certain people still behave like this in the times we live in now.

Shiny Celebi
October 5th, 2011, 08:26 AM
This is horrifying that an adult would harrass and harm a child like that just for expessing his right to free speech. Theres nothing wrong with him showing support for the club. I really hope the man is punished because this is very wrong.

deoxys121
October 5th, 2011, 09:00 AM
That's terrible. Why on Earth would a principal of all people assault someone for wearing a GSA shirt? It's just pitiful, really. I hope that principal gets hit with the blunt end of the law, and gets fired.

Mr. X
October 6th, 2011, 08:01 AM
Should he decide to sue the school district over the assault, he will win easily.

Alley Cat
October 6th, 2011, 09:51 AM
This kid has an EASY win. The man assaulted him, and simply for the fact that he wore a GSA shirt. Assault, Hate crime. That man is going down if he gets taken to trial. Since it's so popular, the boy will also have A LOT of support gunning for him, support that the principal won't have. I woud sue the man, and at least throw a lawsuit towards the school district as well, because there is a chance(nota very big, i would imagine) that they can get penned for some of the blame as well. If not, then it isn't a very big loss.

The principal,he can hate gay all he wants. I could care less, in fact, it is in his right to hate whoever he chooses. Acting upon that hate, he can even do that to an extent. He can atted whatever anti-gay protests that he wants, he can campaign against gay rights al he wants. But when it comes to him attacking someone over those beliefs, that's when it crosses the line. Believe what you want, don't force your beliefs down others throat, don't take away the rights of others by FORCING them to operate in your beliefs. You know, what the US is doing now and pretty much has done through out all of history.


If I was that kid, I'd have beat down that man the moment he laid a finger on me. It'd be all legal then, and no one could really say anything when I drop the man. I don't believe in violence, but I'm not afraid to tangle if somone's coming at me. He'd be with in his rights too if he did that. Not to mention that the bible-thumping princpal would probably think twice before he just walks up and knock someone around.

Hopefully though, this kid sets an exampe for other kids and schools to folow. Not just for an anti-gay crime like this one, but for an anti-huamanty crime. It doesn't really matter if it is against a gay, straight, white, or black person, any way, it is just wrong.

Dixie Kong
October 6th, 2011, 11:15 AM
GSA could have stood for Girls Stab Angels or Give Soldiers Apples for all he knew. But all joking aside, this kid has an easy win. I would be ashamed to teach at a school with such a terrible principal, or even attend it as a student for that matter.

Hey, hey principal mentioned in this article, I'm talking to you. Way to act like the role model you're supposed to be for our generation. Times are changing, bruh bruh, get used to it. There's a part time spot open in my bakery if you're in dire need of a job. Love, Igiko.

THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'

Chikara
October 6th, 2011, 12:23 PM
I read the first line and got upset. But then again. Tennessee.

Hey, hey principal mentioned in this article, I'm talking to you. Way to act like the role model you're supposed to be for our generation. Times are changing, bruh bruh, get used to it. There's a part time spot open in my bakery if you're in dire need of a job. Love, Igiko.

Exile
October 6th, 2011, 12:37 PM
Only in Tennessee.

Anyhow, this is obviously disgusting and the principal, as well as the school should be beyond embarassed for this. Props to the kid for standing up for his rights and trying to get a GSA set up in his school, and as others have said, he will easily win if he decides to sue, either that or we get Scopes Trial v2!

Boomburst
October 6th, 2011, 12:39 PM
Wow, that guy is nuts. Plus, this is in the same state that treats gays like the spawn of you know who.

Someone needs to kick some sense into Tennessee. Obviously, this needs to stop.

Lalapizzame
October 6th, 2011, 12:41 PM
Treating the principal like this is rude, especially when we're so defensive of our principles. I may disagree with his principles, but I will not tell him to change for principles of others.

On the other hand, it was not right to assault the student. I understand his principles may oppose homosexuality, but it would have been best to let it go. Now his job is at stake for principles. Leave the principles at the doorstep, and express them in your private time.

Fighting a senior authority at a school is not wise, even if it is in defense of oneself. Allow the legal system and the sympathies of the jury to punish the aggressor, instead of compromising innocence for the sake of impulsive revenge.

I smell hypocrisy here, forcing Tennessee to bend to our principles. Perhaps we should have their principles projected upon us before we are such advocates. It sets both a good and a bad precedence, something that will not endear us to our brethren in Tennessee. Not to mention if they are truly so impassioned about their moral principles, they shall act in defiance of a law they view as unjust and forced upon them. We would not want our principles assaulted, we hold them just as dearly as this principal did. Strength in numbers, I suppose?

PkMnTrainer Yellow
October 7th, 2011, 08:07 AM
I read the first paragraph of the quote and was all like...

"Woah woah woah. You /do not have/ free speech in the class room. l2law"

Mainly because it's freaking school. If we had free speech people would be able to talk incessantly during lectures and provoke arguments during class over whatever they're feeling passionate at the moment. They could literally hang out outside the window of a classroom and start torturing kids and disrupting class by doing the same thing. The notion that kids 'have' free speech in school is absurd. They never did and they never should. If one thinks otherwise, they need to go lobby for it.

Regardless. Wearing a T-shirt with a message on it in a public school is probably something that should be protected by the law. Unless, y'know, you're pro-uniform. =| That being said, what the principal did was totally uncalled for. Like we needed to give people /more/ ammo to flame traditional/conservative/religious beliefs. It's not like anyone is at all hesitant to use said ammo when given it. <___>

Mr. X
October 7th, 2011, 12:55 PM
l2law 2 u 2 broski.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinker_v._Des_Moines_Independent_Community_School_District

If you don't feel like reading, i'll post the important part...

"The Court found that the actions of the Tinkers in wearing armbands did not cause disruption and held that their activity represented constitutionally protected symbolic speech."

Wearing clothing with a peaceful message is protected as it is, in this case, considered symbolic speech. (Know that saying a picture is worth a thousand words? Best saying I could think off.)

Also Locz... I just ninja'd you. But, feel free to add additional information that I know I forgot about.

Edit - Just for giggles, I googled the topic name (with the correct spelling for assault) and guess what? #5 on the list.

FreakyLocz14
October 7th, 2011, 01:10 PM
l2law 2 u 2 broski.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinker_v._Des_Moines_Independent_Community_School_District

If you don't feel like reading, i'll post the important part...

"The Court found that the actions of the Tinkers in wearing armbands did not cause disruption and held that their activity represented constitutionally protected symbolic speech."

Wearing clothing with a peaceful message is protected as it is, in this case, considered symbolic speech. (Know that saying a picture is worth a thousand words? Best saying I could think off.)

Also Locz... I just ninja'd you. But, feel free to add additional information that I know I forgot about.

Edit - Just for giggles, I googled the topic name (with the correct spelling for assault) and guess what? #5 on the list.

Well, those who are interested can have a read of 42 U.S.C. section 1983.

Section 1983 essentially makes equitable relief available to those whose constitutional rights had been violated by an actor acting under State authority.

This student's 1st Amendment rights were violated by his principal. I'm assuming this is a public school. If so, that makes all the staff government employees. If it's a private school, he may be out of luck. Lots of private schools, especially religions ones, prohibit LGBT expressions on their campuses.

Now that I thought about it more, I would probably proceed with this matter as a 1983 lawsuit instead of as a discrimination suit, since it is more of a free speech violation than the principle discriminating against him due to his actual or perceived sexual orientation. Monetary damages as well as an injunction demanding the allowance of a GSA to be formed would be the outcome.

Demon.
October 7th, 2011, 01:15 PM
Not digging all the tennessee hate/stereotypes going on in here.

FreakyLocz14
October 7th, 2011, 01:20 PM
Not digging all the tennessee hate/stereotypes going on in here.

I agree. I know that there are plenty of decent people that live in TN and other states in the South. It's just unfortunate that the political climate there is less tolerant.

Lalapizzame
October 7th, 2011, 03:08 PM
I agree, disagreement is no grounds for attacks on people, let alone entire groups of people. Alas, how the winds of political taste go by!

PkMnTrainer Yellow
October 7th, 2011, 05:47 PM
l2law 2 u 2 broski

...

So are you trying to imply that there's something wrong with my argument? Because as far as I can tell we are in agreement here other than whatever that piece I quoted is. <___>

Perhaps you disagree with me when I pointed out how much it frustrated me that they were so vague as to imply that he "had freedom of speech" when in reality that implies a lot more than simply being able to wear T-shirts with messages on them?

Livewire
October 7th, 2011, 06:10 PM
Can we have one thread that doesn't sound like a boring version of my Political Science classes?

This coming from the state that tried to outlaw "sharia Law" which made no sense for a multitude of reasons. Tell the principal I said I like my burgers medium rare.

ArrT
October 8th, 2011, 05:50 AM
To all the people say stuff about tennessians, your no better than a homophobic person

-ty-
October 8th, 2011, 05:34 PM
Well, I think that the discussion about teaching tolerance to students is a tough struggle, but I do think that tolerance is something that the school faculty should have to learn without dispute. Okay, so people might say that the faculty's rights may be trampled on, but in reality, like the military, public schools are in a totally different arena of free speech; you cannot go up to a black student and make a racial slur, let alone physically intimidate him/her. I know at the university here, it is required to take cultural diversity for all degrees, and in the education program, you must take diversity in the classroom.

I am not sure what Tennessee's curriculum is, but I think that in order to make schools a better environment for learning, that the staff should be required to take a course in the understanding of diversity in schools. Does this sound fair? Would this at least help to prevent incidences like this? I don't know, what do you guys think?

FreakyLocz14
October 8th, 2011, 06:11 PM
Well, I think that the discussion about teaching tolerance to students is a tough struggle, but I do think that tolerance is something that the school faculty should have to learn without dispute. Okay, so people might say that the faculty's rights may be trampled on, but in reality, like the military, public schools are in a totally different arena of free speech; you cannot go up to a black student and make a racial slur, let alone physically intimidate him/her. I know at the university here, it is required to take cultural diversity for all degrees, and in the education program, you must take diversity in the classroom.

I am not sure what Tennessee's curriculum is, but I think that in order to make schools a better environment for learning, that the staff should be required to take a course in the understanding of diversity in schools. Does this sound fair? Would this at least help to prevent incidences like this? I don't know, what do you guys think?

Here's my stance on that:
In a public school, which is run by the government, for faculty is fair game. I'm uneasy about requiring it of private schools, though.

Not really teaching tolerance, but just training staff on how to deal with issue that could arise with LGBT students.

Mr. X
October 8th, 2011, 07:34 PM
Can we have one thread that doesn't sound like a boring version of my Political Science classes?

This coming from the state that tried to outlaw "sharia Law" which made no sense for a multitude of reasons. Tell the principal I said I like my burgers medium rare.

Sad to say, but any topic dealing with the rights or lack there of for certian groups is occasionally going to sound like a boring version of your political science class.

Imo, if you find that class boring then you should have gotten out.

And I call blasphemy. Everyone knows the burgers are only good when well done or rare. This 'medium rare' is for people who can't decide what they really want.

-ty-
October 8th, 2011, 08:05 PM
Here's my stance on that:
In a public school, which is run by the government, for faculty is fair game. I'm uneasy about requiring it of private schools, though.

Not really teaching tolerance, but just training staff on how to deal with issue that could arise with LGBT students.

Yeah, that is a good distinction. I was like, I am not quite sure how to teach tolerance, but yes, teachers/administrators should be knowledgeable about how to deal with conflicts that arise from LGBT students.

Private schools, yeah, they are not funded by government so..nyeah I guess there is not much to be done to prevent this behavior. A private school student could always take legal action if he/she is assaulted in such a fashion. So if a private school administrator didn't learn the proper way of dealing with the conflict, he can just face legal repercussions, lol.

Shining Raichu
October 8th, 2011, 08:14 PM
I've got this:

http://i55.tinypic.com/2n9j4ft.jpg

Seriously, even in a Bible-thumping, gay-hating state like Tennessee, how does somebody who is such a thug reach a position where he has power over an entire classroom, let alone a school? This should never have been allowed to happen - there needs to be more of a sophisticated screening process for potential educators. I think what states like Tennessee need to do is start outsourcing teachers from states where the people are... you know... sane.

Though I'm glad this happened, because as Penatrait said, now the law will get this mofo and that's one less anti-gay bully that future students will have to deal with.