FREE SPEECH — A Merced mother says public school administrators violated her daughter's First Amendment rights when they ordered the seventh grader to take off her pro-life T-shirt, reports Fox News.
Amador has gone to court on behalf of her daughter, who she says was
ordered by her principal to change her shirt on "National Pro-Life
T-Shirt Day." The shirt the girl was wearing displays two graphic
pictures of a fetus growing in the womb.
incident occurred in April 2008 at McSwain Elementary School, a K-8
school in Merced, Calif. Amador alleges in her legal complaint that
school Principal Terrie Rohrer, Assistant Principal C.W. Smith and
office clerk Martha Hernandez mistreated her daughter and denied the
girl her First Amendment rights when they ordered her to leave the
cafeteria and change her shirt.
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," the complaint reads.
"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…
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…
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."
school administrators dispute some of the allegations, said Anthony N.
DeMaria, attorney for the McSwain Union Elementary School District.
complaint quotes school district officials saying that they ordered
Amador's daughter to remove the shirt because it constituted
"inappropriate subject matter" in violation of the school's dress code,
which bans clothing with "suggestion of tobacco, drug or alcohol use,
sexual promiscuity, profanity, vulgarity, or other inappropriate