Anti-Gay T-shirts Sold at Connecticut High School Considered ‘Freedom of Speech’

Anti-gay Seth Groody

Last year Seth Groody of Wolcott High School in Connecticut was requested by his school  to remove an anti-gay t-shirt he wore on  ‘Day of Silence’, a day of action in which students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.

Groody was originally threatened with suspension for wearing the shirt,  a rainbow encased in a circle and slash but when the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) threatened to sue the school for infringing on the student’s constitutional right to free speech, Wolcott High School backed down.

Now not only is Groody permitted to wear the anti-gay t-shirt, but has reported to selling the shirts to his fellow students without any ramifications.

Groody said he and his friends intend to wear the shirts on the upcoming National Day of Silence that is recognized this tear on April 19th.

Sandra Staub, legal director of the ACLU in Connecticut disagrees ‘very strongly’ with Groody’s anti-gay position, but says he should be allowed to express his opinion freely .

I have to wonder if the ACLU would be so adamant and forthright about taking the case of a student who wanted to come to school in KKK attire on MLK Day?  By thier opinion that also could be seen as freedom of speech. The ACLU has helped set a dangerous precedent by allowing hate speech on a school campus.  And while the vast majority of the time I support the ACLU, this is about more than freedom of speech.  It’s about infringing on other people’s learning environment and possible safety. The ACLU needs be more careful in the cases it chooses to advocate for.  They needed not take this case, they had a choice.  And I am sure there are many other more important and less hateful cases out there that the ACLU could have, and should have chosen to defend over a teenage bigots “right to hate”.


PLEASE support and register for GLSEN’s Day of Silence.

Source - Gay Star News

7 thoughts on “Anti-Gay T-shirts Sold at Connecticut High School Considered ‘Freedom of Speech’

  1. To answer your hypothetical, they probably would. The ACLU has defended the KKK and similar hate groups before, and they will again. Their principles regarding the right to free speech are consistent, even if it means having to defend some really disgusting people (who hate the ACLU).

    That kid’s an asshole, but wearing that shirt isn’t illegal. The school could probably get him for selling more of those shirts if they wanted to, but legal precedent is pretty clear that they really can’t stop him from wearing it. I also have no doubt that the ACLU is going to be going up against school districts elsewhere that’ll try to crack down against Day of Silence participants.

  2. I know I always want the ACLU to be on the side of LGBT issues. This is one of those “hard spot & a rock” deals that would seem unavoidable. We all want our freedom of speech protected, and this is an example of
    “All” means everybody including the jerks.

  3. Free speech is free speech, regardless of whether or not you agree with it. Yes, the speech expressed here is absolutely despicable, but the student has a right to it nonetheless. To believe in freedom of speech is to believe that anyone should have the right to express what they believe in, regardless of whether their speech is unpopular or hateful. The ACLU is consistent in their dedication to the first amendment, and they would most certainly protect other forms of unpopular speech, like that of the KKK.

    Trying to prohibit this speech would not be much different from, say, a Utah school that tries to silence a pro-gay rights student for fear of spreading those ideas to other students. The right to freedom of speech would not be a meaningful right if it didn’t apply to the most unpopular views just as much as it applies to the most popular ones.

    1. Let me just say something here. The point of this post was not to deny the kiddie bigot his freedom of speech. But to point out that the ACLU does have a choice in what cases they take and who they represent. There are many religious law organizations that could have taken that case. Don’t get me wrong the ACLU is a great organization, but they do have a choice.

      1. The most controversial, most vilified forms of speech are the ones that most deserve to be defended. This is a clear cut example of an authority attempting to stifle a person’s first amendment rights, and if the ACLU doesn’t take up a case like this, they’re essentially making a value judgment based on the speech itself, which goes against the organization’s purpose in the first place.

  4. I don’t think the ACLU are a great organization. With this case they have helped to foster an anti-gay, physically intimidating, unsafe environment for LGBT students. The are guilty of what they’e supposedly against-bullying. Gay and lesbian students at that school should sue Seth Groody, the ACLU and school district. Safety, well-being issues should trump free speech ones. The ACLU have blood on their hands.

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