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FIRST AMENDMENT? WHAT FIRST AMENDMENT?

‘We Don’t Promote That Here’: Kentucky School Administrators Force Students to Remove LGBTQ-Pride Tee Shirts

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Student Says Principal Outed Several LGBTQ Students to Their Parents

Administrators at a Kentucky high school reportedly forced several students to remove LGBTQ-affirming tee shirts,. The students say they were told “we don’t promote that here,” referring to being LGBTQ, and that the shirts were a “disruption.”

Administrators at Martin County High School reportedly claimed the tee shirts violate the school’s dress code, which says: “Clothing must be appropriate for school and must not interfere with the educational process.”

The tee shirts said “Queen Queer” and “Lady Lesbian,” according to Yahoo News.

The school administrators might have violated the students’ free speech, based on other similar cases (below).

The students are accusing the administration of refusing to allow a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), suggesting that words like “lesbian” or “queer” when used in a positive manner are “disruptive” and could put students in danger, and saying that school is not a place they can or should be open about who they are – while allowing students to flaunt their support of the Confederate flag or President Trump.

“The administrators stated to us that [students] were forced to change because [administrators] were ‘worried for the dangers of the students, and did not want to hear of any students coming back saying they were being bullied,” one of the students told Yahoo News. They added that the administrators said “That school was not a place for children to express their sexual orientation.”

Rather than working to protect free speech – an important lesson for all school students – the LGBTQ students were discriminated against, victimized, and might have had their civil rights violated by the school administrators.

“It was basically just [the principal] saying that we don’t need to advertise our orientations on a big billboard because that puts a target on us for bullying,” one of the students, Jessica, added. “She also said we didn’t need a [Gay-Straight Alliance because we already know who our friends are that support us.”

“We want the administration to really treat others equally because we want the ability to express our identities just like the students who wear Trump apparel, religious apparel or the Confederate flag. I know we are in a rural, Christian-Republican community, but we want tolerance. Our shirts aren’t hurting anyone. It’s unfair that because the staff have certain beliefs, they treat students differently and scare them into not speaking out,” Jessica also said. “We just want justice.”

Yahoo News adds that “Jessica even alleged that the principal outed some LGBTQ students to their parents when calling to warn about a possible walkout which never took place.”

The school appears to be ripe for an intervention from civil rights groups.

In 2016 The ACLU sued a Tennessee school district that had banned a student from wearing a tee shirt that said: “Some People Are Gay, Get Over It.” The ACLU won.

In a detailed look at pro-LGBTQ tees cases, including the 2016 Tennessee case, the Southern Poverty Law Center adds: “First and most importantly, a school cannot manufacture its own ‘disruption’ by overreacting to speech.”

The SPLC also offers more examples, including this one:

“In 2008, a Florida judge struck down a Pensacola-area school’s ban on logos including rainbows, pink triangles and the words ‘gay pride’ or ‘GP,’ which students began wearing in defense of a classmate bullied for being a lesbian.”

Here’s a video report from about the Martin County school administrators decision to ban the speech of several LGBTQ students, from WYMT:

 

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FIRST AMENDMENT? WHAT FIRST AMENDMENT?

Trump White House Sends Formal Threat to John Bolton — and Warns Him Not to Publish His Book: CNN

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CNN is reporting that the Trump White House has sent a formal threat to former national security adviser John Bolton aimed at blocking the publication of his upcoming tell-all book about his time working for the president.

The threat against Bolton marks an escalation for the Trump White House, which has resisted allowing Bolton to testify in the president’s Senate impeachment trial. The president himself attacked Bolton in a tweet on Wednesday morning, and claimed that he fired him as national security adviser because he wanted to start “World War Six.”

It is unclear how successful this ploy will be, however, as the president in 2018 unsuccessfully sued to stop the publication of Michael Wolff’s insider book “Fire and Fury,” which contained multiple embarrassing revelations about the Trump White House.

EARLIER:

Trump Tries to Discredit John Bolton in Twitter Tantrum, Gets Destroyed: ‘You Should Fire the Moron Who Hired’ Him

‘Nothing Was Ever Said to John Bolton’: Trump Lays Groundwork as GOP Preps False ‘Executive Privilege’ Claims

George Conway and Neal Katyal Lay Down the Law to Mitch McConnell — and Show Why John Bolton Must Testify

 

 

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FIRST AMENDMENT? WHAT FIRST AMENDMENT?

Florida Taxpayers Spend $129 Million to Pay for the Anti-LGBTQ Education of Thousands of Students in Schools That Ban Homosexuality

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The concept of separation of church and state seems to be all but dead in the state of Florida. Anti-LGBTQ religious activists have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, convincing lawmakers that the taxpayers should foot the bill for nearly any school parents want to send their children – including private Christian and other religious schools that promote anti-LGBTQ hate.

Taxpayers are literally paying to teach children of all ages that being LGBTQ is a sin.

The Orlando Sentinel has just published a deep dive into just how extensive the push for school vouchers has become in the Sunshine State, and it’s disturbing.

Here’s how their reporting begins:

In the shadow of a nearly 200-foot cross, Central Florida Christian Academy enrolls students who live by the Bible’s commands and abstain from “sexual immorality” — meaning gay children aren’t welcome on the state-supported campus in west Orange County.

Calvary Christian High School in Clearwater denies admission to students if they, or someone in their home, are practicing a “homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity” or “promoting such practices.”

Wade Christian School in Melbourne keeps an “expulsion list,” with a “homosexual act” among the offenses, alongside bringing weapons to campus, distributing drugs and striking a staff member.

Now for some hard numbers.

Florida taxpayers last year foot the bill for 20,800 students to attend one of at least 156 private, faith-based schools that are overtly anti-LGBTQ. The bill came to over $129 million.

One school, Calvary Christian Academy in Broward County, received over $4 million in taxpayer funds, to teach nearly 600 students. The Sentinel details some of Calvary’s polices:

Students must “abstain from sexual immorality, such as: the use of pornography, inappropriate touching, premarital sex, homosexual behavior, adultery, and all other sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage.” It also says “acceptable sexual behavior is exclusively reserved to occur within the confines of a monogamous marriage union of a consenting man and woman” and that “Any other attitude towards or form of marriage, parenting or sexual behavior is in fundamental conflict with our sincerely held religious beliefs; making these practices something we are unable to support or facilitate in any manner in good conscience.”

Trinity Christian Academy in Duval County received nearly $3.9 million from Florida taxpayers to teach 614 students that  “Homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, trans-sexuality are in opposition” to school’s beliefs. “As such, the student would be required to withdraw.”

One education expert spoke to the Orlando Sentinel, denouncing Florida’s policies.

“All students should be welcome at a K-12 school, especially those schools that receive public money,” said Suzanne Eckes, a professor in educational leadership and policy studies at Indiana University who has studied school voucher programs. “I think the big question is, ‘Hey citizens of the state of Florida … Do you want your taxpayer money used in this way?”

NCRM previously reported that U.S. taxpayers are doling out $1 billion a year to fund private, anti-science Christian grade school educations. Several years ago we also reported that America spends $71 billion annually subsidizing tax-exempt religion.

Image by abcdz2000 via Flickr and a CC license

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FIRST AMENDMENT? WHAT FIRST AMENDMENT?

Viral Video Shows Pickup Truck Ramming Crowd Protesting ICE – They Say a Guard Was Driving, Cops Did Nothing

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Protestors Were Also Pepper Sprayed

A video that has gone viral on social media shows a group of protestors sitting peacefully across a road in front of Rhode Island’s Wyatt Detention Facility Wednesday night, chanting for the release of about 120 immigrants. A black pickup truck approaches, honks, briefly stops, then runs into the crowd. Children and one person in a wheelchair were part of the protest, organizers say.

“It was terrifying because we didn’t know what exactly his intention was,” said Amy Anthony, a spokesperson for Never Again Action told The Washington Post. “It certainly appeared he was trying to hit us.”

Several protestors were injured and taken to a hospital for treatment. None of the injuries were severe.

“The driver, protesters say, was a correctional officer employed by the privately run facility who was wearing a badge and a uniform — an assertion backed up by video of the incident,” The Washington Post reports.

Local police did not arrest the driver, and in fact took no action at all, according to Anthony.

The driver was allowed to walk into the prison, while prison guards were allowed to pepper spray the protestors.

“If this is the way this correctional officer is behaving in public when people are recording, it’s not hard to imagine the behavior is much worse behind the walls in the facility where no one can see what is happening,” Anthony noted.

The Wyatt Detention Facility is a publicly-owned but privately-run prison facility that contracts with various government agencies, including ICE, to detain prisoners.

It is unclear if private prison guards have the legal right to pepper spray protestors exercising their First Amendment rights.

On its website Never Again Action says it is “a mass mobilization of Jews who are organizing to shut down ICE.”

They also say, “We’ve been taught the signs by our ancestors. As our government runs concentration camps, and rounds up and cages our neighbors, we are called to speak out: #NeverAgainIsNow.”

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