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Anti-Gay T-Shirt Ruling Appealed 
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: February 9, 2007 - 9:00 pm ET

(San Diego, California)  A federal court ruling that said a Southern California school had the power to suspend a student for wearing a T-shirt denouncing homosexuality is being appealed.

Tyler Chase Harper was kicked him out of class at Poway High School on the National Day of Silence in 2004 for not removing the homemade T-shirt that said on the front "Be ashamed, our school embraced what God has condemned," and on the back "Homosexuality is shameful".

Harper, with the help of the Alliance Defense Fund brought two lawsuits against the school - one alleging his free speech rights were violated, the other charging the school had no right to dictate student dress.

While the civil rights case was proceeding through the courts the ADF sought an injunction barring Poway from refusing to allow students to wear clothing with a political or social message. 

U.S. District Judge John A. Houston in his ruling cited a judgment last April by the Ninth Circuit that found Poway Unified School District had not violated Harper's First Amendment rights.

The Ninth Circuit panel addressed only the narrow issue of whether the dress code should be unenforced pending the outcome of the student's First Amendment suit. The civil rights part of the case was appealed to the US Supreme Court which will hear arguments later this month.

The appeals court has not set a date to hear arguments in the dress code suit.

In last month's ruling Judge Houston agreed with the school that the issue was one of protecting students.

The school district had pointed out that the year prior to the Harper incident the campus was disrupted by protests and conflicts between students over the Day of Silence.

The ADF said it was prepared to fight the dress code issue to the Supreme Court as well. 2007


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