I’m a plain t-shirt kinda guy. I don’t like logos on my t-shirts, either on the front or the back; and I don’t like a pocket. I just want a plain t-shirt, in a variety, or in my case, a rainbow, of colors and I’ll be happy.
Now, this isn’t to say I don’t have logo t-shirts; I do. I wear ‘em to sleep in, to cut the grass in, to lounge around the house in. But I don’t wear them out is public because, well, it’s like this: if you sell me a logo t-shirt then I am advertising for you and if I’m advertising for you, then I expect a check, m’kay?
Briana Popour, though, had a different take on the printed -shirt, and wore one to school one day that read:
"Nobody Knows I'm a Lesbian."
Except, they kinda do, because you’re advertising it, though I don’t think she expected to be kicked out of Chesnee High School in Spartanburg, South Carolina for wearing it.
Especially not when she says she’s worn it several times without incident, though this last time she was pulled from class and taken to the administration offices where she was told the shirt was disruptive and offensive.
When Briana said there was nothing in the school handbook regarding this kind of shirt she was pointed to a passage that read:
“Clothing deemed distracting, revealing, overly suggestive or otherwise disruptive will not be permitted.”
Okay, yeah, there it is, but who makes the call about what article of clothing is offensive or disruptive, and how does a shirt free from obscenity and pornography qualify as offensive?
Briana wasn’t given that answer; she was simply told that the school administrator doesn’t like kids at his school “wearing anything that says anything about lesbians, gays, or bisexuals.”
Briana didn’t like that answer, and wondered about a school that wants to, in effect, shame its LGBTQ students. So, she took her story to the media where she learned that the school's action may be unconstitutional, at least according to a 1969 Supreme Court ruling that stated that the First Amendment applies to schools, which cannot ban unpopular or controversial speech.
But, here’s where it turns, good, and points out what I was saying in a blog post the other day about those protesters we came across in Raleigh — see post HERE — in that sometimes it only takes being heard. As soon as T-ShirtGate blew up in the media and online, and almost before Briana’s suspension had begun, the school had a change of heart and Brandy’s suspension was lifted.
Spartanburg School District 2 spokeswoman Rhonda Henderson now says:
“The dress code disciplinary decision … was overturned when administration realized that although the shirt was offensive and distracting to some adults in the building, the students were paying it little attention.”
Perhaps because the students know better? Perhaps because the students understand that there is nothing offensive about being gay, nothing distracting about being gay …
Nothing bad about a t-shirt … even on with a logo or saying on it.