Michigan middle school was wrong to prohibit pro-life silent protest, court says

A federal court granted a permanent injunction March 26against Jefferson Middle School in Monroe, Mich., which prohibited a studentfrom wearing a pro-life T-shirt and from putting tape across his mouth as asilent protest against abortion.
Attorneys with the AllianceDefense Fund, a legal religious and civil rights organization, filed a lawsuiton behalf of Michael Amble-Lucas against his principal and other schoolofficials who told the then eighth grade student he could not wear hissweatshirt that read, “Pray to end abortion” and would need to remove the tapefrom his mouth and wrists that read, “John 10:27 – My sheep listen to myvoice, I know them, and they follow me.”
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SPLCView: This is precisely the sort of student speech case whose outcome couldbe changed were the Supreme Court to water down its longstanding Tinkerstandard when it hands down its ruling in Morse v. Frederick — morepopularly known as the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case — later this year. Currently,as this Michigan court recognized, Tinker makes clear that students havethe right to engage in otherwise lawful on-campus expression as long as it doesnot significantly interfere with normal school activities. However, during oralarguments at the Court in Frederick last month at least some justicesindicated a willingness to drastically weaken the Tinker standard toallow school officials to censor student speech that administrators determinedconflicted with the school’s educational mission, however that term might bedefined. Giving school officials such broad discretion over what students cansay would all but strip them of their current First Amendment protection andeliminate the right of our country’s youngest citizens — such as the student inthis case — to have their voices heard on some of the most important issues ofthe day.