Seventh-grader sent home for ‘there are only two genders’ shirt, brings up issue at school board meeting

by Jacob Fuller

Katie Kerekes, FISM News

A Massachusetts middle school student who says he was removed from school for wearing a shirt that read, “there are only two genders,” brought the matter before the Middleborough Public Schools Committee meeting last month, according to the Blaze.

“I never thought that the shirt I wore to school … would lead me to speak with you today,” said courageous 12-year-old Liam Morrison, who thanked the committee for allowing him to speak.

A seventh-grader at Nichols Middle School in Middleborough, Massachusetts, Liam says he was taken out of gym class in March for what turned out to be a “very uncomfortable talk.”

He explained that two adults informed him that his shirt was making some students feel “unsafe” and that in order to return to class, he would need to remove it.

“Yes, words on a shirt made people feel unsafe,” the preteen explained, adding that though he was told he was not in trouble, he felt as if he was.

After politely declining, Liam says he was sent home, receiving support from his father.

“What did my shirt say?” he asked. “Five simple words: there are only two genders. Nothing harmful. Nothing threatening. Just a statement I believe to be a fact.”

“I was told my shirt was ‘targeting a protected class.’ Who is this protected class? Are their feelings more important than my rights?”

Liam continued by noting that out of respect for his peers’ rights to their beliefs, he never complained about the diversity posters and pride flags hung throughout the school.

“Others have a right to their beliefs just as I do,” he expressed, stating that despite being told the shirt was a “disruption to learning,” he did not receive any negative criticism from anyone that day.

On the contrary, Liam recalled that he did receive support from several fellow students who mentioned wanting the shirt for themselves.

“I experience disruptions to my learning every day. Kids acting out in class are a disruption, yet nothing is done. Why do the rules apply to one yet not another?” he asked the committee, glancing up from his paper.

“I feel like these adults were telling me that it wasn’t ok for me to have an opposing view,” he continued.

“Their arguments were weak, in my opinion.”

Liam disclosed that while his intentions were never to hurt feelings or cause trouble, he learned a lot from the experience. He recounted that many other students share his view, and that “adults don’t always do the right thing or make the right decisions.”

“I know that I have a right to wear the shirt with those five words. Even at 12 years old, I have my own political opinions, and I have a right to express those opinions. Even at school, this right is called the First Amendment to the Constitution,” he explained.

Liam concluded with a call to action for the committee by challenging them to “speak up for the rest of us so that we can express ourselves without being pulled out of class.”