Teacher to Student: “Take Off Your (Marriage Equality) Shirt”

Here’s one way to teach a civics lesson: Plucky Big Bear High School sophomore class president Mariah Jimenez decided to wear a homemade tie-dyed shirt which read “Prop. 8 Equals Hate” the day before the election in California and all she got for her troubles was a trip to the Principal’s office and a pending A.C.L.U. lawsuit against the school for violating her First Amendment Rights.

The San Bernadino County Sun says:

“Mariah’s sixth-period teacher, Sue Reynolds, ordered her to remove the shirt during a meeting of the Associated Student Body.

When Mariah protested, Reynolds sent her to the principal’s office.

“She said I shouldn’t be wearing such divisive shirts, and my shirt draws a line down the school,” said
Mariah, who also plays on her school’s golf and softball teams and has been involved in school politics since seventh grade.

Principal Michael Ghelber gave Mariah an ultimatum: Remove the shirt or remain in his office.

Under protest, Mariah changed shirts and returned to class. Then, she went to the ACLU.

“I would really appreciate the acknowledgment that my rights were violated, because when it comes down to it, that’s what happened,” Mariah said.”

The school now contends that their decision was based on protecting Mariah’s safety, since I guess Big Bear High is so filled with roaming packs of homophobes that the Principal and Superintendent are no longer able to provide a safe environment for their students.

Either way, sounds like a problem.

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  • L.P.

    San Bernardino Country, but especially Big Bear Lake, CA, is basically where all the white-trash, jesus freaks live. I don’t believe for a moment that they were “protecting Mariah’s safety,” but that may or may not have been a valid argument. I’m so effing glad that I left San Bernardino county.

  • konrad

    Tinker vs. Des Moines Board of Education. Settled law. Principal is an idiot.

  • adzomelk

    in 1969 justice fortas wrote schools may not be enclaves of totalitarianism students & teachers do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of expression @the school house gates to which i might add GO GRRRL!

  • Don'tCareAsLongAsItIsADemocrat

    @adzomelk: I agree. On the surface, it seems to be a pretty clear cut case and seems to be almost exactly like the Tinker v. Des Moines case.

  • GranDiva

    What you said.

  • adzomelk

    @Don’tCareAsLongAsItIsADemocrat: the issue with tinker just so we can be clear about this was armbands protesting the vietnam war the court ruled the armbands were symbolic speech & therefore protected by the 1st amendment

  • kevwyn

    soon all the students will be wearing grey jumpers with thier student id on lanyard around thier necks. it is unfortunate that (some)adults believe that 14-18 yr olds are not conscious enought to form thier own opinions and have very real and relevant ideas on the world around them. this generation of high school students are not in anyway comparable to thier counterparts that graduated a decade ago. they are more sophisticated and generally well informed and need the guidance of adults that are just as sophisticated and informed.Daily i am surprised by my 17 yr old neice.

  • Dreama

    i love you mariah. when i see you at school on thursday i’m gonna high five you.

  • Brian

    It astounds me, as a paralegal and an education student, that any teacher would take action to hamper civic engagement. Not only does it astound me, it disgusts me. An educational facility is supposed to be a safe place for the exchange of ideas and the development of knowledge. How is it possible for youth to develop their own ideas and opinions on issues when bigots in the educational system hamper free speech?

  • Pragmatist

    @L.P.: I’ve always thought that the weirdest people in the entire world live in Big Bear! They don’t strike me as particularly Jesus-y, though. Rather, they seem perma-stoned. Kind of like a more intensely weird version of desert-dwellers.

  • brad rice

    Pragmatist is a narrow minded idiot to sum up an entire community in a few ignorant stereotypes. Mix in some intelligence! In the entire world? You’ve been around the world and studied different people? Shut up!

  • Johan

    Three cheers for her, and now I’m uber-glad that I just renewed my ACLU membership.

  • K Carter

    You go Mariah!! Do not bow to these self righteous, ‘We know what’s best for you and your children’ educators.

    Mrs. Reynolds has egg all over her face about now and has rolled over like a dead dog playing ‘victim’ rather than bully. The district should be embarrassed that a teacher in their employ REFUSES to apologize when it is clear she was wrong.

    As for the district later responding they had Mariah’s ‘safety’ in mind, that’s a load of C**P! They didn’t even get involved until the issue was later addressed. The decision to insist Mariah remove the shirt was made solely by the teach and then the principal, NO district official. Scramble, cover-up, twist it, switch it up but the plain fact is, Mariah’s rights were violated. How about that apology that you were originally instructed to give publically Mrs. Reynolds?? Was it just a coinky-ink you called in sick the day it was to be delivered?

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