Rachel Bavaro, a high-school sophomore in Lynn, MA, says her vice principal made her cover up her T-shirt just because it said “All the Cool Girls Are Lesbians.” Bavaro says the administrator told her, “We don’t wear political things or inflammatory [things] or anything that could be deemed disruptive.”
Really? We seem to recall plenty of inappropriate T-shirts back when we were in high school, and that was in the 19th century!
According to WBZ in Boston, Bavaro initially followed orders, but she eventually posted a video online explaining how she feels it was her right to express herself. Bavaro then wrote a letter to Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy explaining the situation and—lo and behold—Kennedy came to her defense!
“I think it’s the adults that need to understand that the students have rights in the schools,” says the mayor. “They as administrators can’t run it with just their personal opinions and preferences in mind.”
The ACLU agrees. The group is pressing the school to issue Bavaro a formal apology:
“Offensiveness is not enough of a reason to interfere with freedom of expression even in the public schools, all kinds of things are offensive but you put up with it,” says ACLU counsel Sarah Wunsch. “That’s how people learn.”
Lynn English High School’s principal Thomas Strangie sees it differently: “I don’t think this is an issue of freedom of speech myself,” he told WBZ. “I don’t think people should be identifying themselves with their orientation, what their ethnicity is, what their religion is.”
So will you be sending home students wearing crosses and Stars of David? Or maybe just making them turn their “Kiss Me I’m Irish” T-Shirts inside out?
It’s not the bigotry that’s scary here—it’s the stupidity. This guy is in charge of education hundreds of young people.