Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Court Upholds Harassed Sixth Grader’s Right to Wear Pro-Life T-shirts

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Prolife - Prolife T-shirtANN ARBOR, MI — A Federal Judge in Minnesota has signed a Stipulated Permanent Injunction this month, allowing a sixth grade student of the Hutchinson Middle School, located in Hutchinson, Minnesota, to wear his pro-life t-shirts to school.

The sixth grader, referred to in the lawsuit as "K. B." because of his age, is a Christian who wore several different pro-life t-shirts to school to proclaim his belief that abortion is the wrongful taking of an innocent life and a grave offense to the Law of God.

However, the principal and several teachers, on over a dozen occasions during April 2008, told "K. B." not to wear the t-shirts, publicly singled him out for ridicule in front of his classmates, removed him from class, sent him to the principal's office, forced him to turn his pro-life t-shirt inside out, and threatened him with suspension if he did not stop wearing the offending pro-life t-shirts.

As a result of the School District's actions, the Thomas More Law Center, a national public-interest law firm, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed a federal lawsuit against the school in June of this year alleging that the sixth grader's constitutional rights had been violated. 

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, commented, "This young Christian was not afraid to stand up for his pro-life beliefs despite ridicule and threats from school officials.   We are pleased we were able to vindicate his Constitutional rights. "

During the period in question, "K. B." wore three different t-shirts, produced by the American Life League, a national pro-life advocacy group.  The t-shirts contained such pro-life messages as, "Abortion… growing, growing, gone" (pictured above),  "What part of abortion don't you understand?" and "Never Known – Not Forgotten."

The Thomas More Law Center was assisted by Minnesota attorney Paul Taylor, an affiliated attorney with the Law Center.

In addition to the permanent injunction prohibiting the school from banning the pro-life t-shirts, the School District agreed to pay the sixth grader nominal damages, as well as $12,500 to the Law Center in attorney fees.

Brandon Bolling, the Law Center attorney assigned as lead counsel stated, "This is a great victory for freedom of speech and the pro-life movement."

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life through education, litigation, and related activities.  It does not charge for its services.  The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization.  You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org.