Lynn Mayor, ACLU Defend Student Who Wore ‘Lesbian’ Shirt To School

By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV

LYNN (CBS) – A Lynn English sophomore posted a video on the Internet explaining why she wanted to wear a t-shirt that says “all the cool girls are lesbians” at school.

“What I want from this, is I want justice,” says Rachel. “I’m someone who believes in justice, I’m someone who believes in standing up for what’s right.”

Rachel Bavaro posted the video after a controversy that has made headlines across the nation.

In January, a vice principal asked Rachel to cover up her shirt saying, “We don’t wear political things or inflammatory or anything that could be deemed disruptive.”

Rachel accepted the principal’s decision, but they decided to write a letter to the mayor of Lynn, explaining that she was offended.

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy is now speaking out in support of Rachel. She says she looked at the law, and Rachel is allowed to wear that shirt because it wasn’t disruptive.

“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 is now taking action too.  “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 Attorney Sarah Wunsch. “That’s how people learn.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

She says that Rachel deserves an apology from the school.

Principal Thomas Strangie does not agree. “I don’t think this is an issue of freedom of speech myself,” he says. “I don’t think people should be identifying themselves with their orientation, what their ethnicity is, what their religion is,” says Strangie. “We are here, we are working together.”

The mayor, who is also the Chair of the School Committee, says Rachel will be able to wear the tee shirt. She says the faculty will also be given sensitivity training on issues of freedom of speech.

  • ginny2

    And where was the ACLU when a high school in California told American Students that they were banned from wearing shirts with the American Flag on it, and the student were told to go home or turn their shirts inside out. All the while the Mexican students can wear shirts with the flag of Mexico.. Oh that’s right, the ACLU supported the Mexican students on that one….after all we can’t support what America stands for anymore.

    • Kini Cosma

      The T-Shirt Controversy. We have to be somewhat modest otherwise we might peak the curiosity of dirty old men then they will have time consuming, time wasting, “frivolous,” sexual harassment lawsuits in their hands (instead of boobs).

    • Steve

      As a matter of fact, ginny2, the ACLU acted to DEFEND the rights of the students who wore American flag shirts:

      My guess is that this is probably not the only time your prejudices have been inconsistent with the facts … you should try checking your facts before you speak; this internet thing really makes it much easier than ever before.

      • firemanmark

        How about the Dearborn case where 3 people were charged with disturbing the peace while peacefully passing out Christian Literature? The cops were on them like Nazi stormtroopers.Thank God the Thomas More Foundation stood by them.I would have sued the cops,city,mayor and all the Muslims in Dearborn for violating my rights as an American.If they don’t want to assimilate then take their Islam and get out of MY country! The ACLU can stick it where the sun don’t shine.Liberal-Socialist phonies!

      • Korruptor

        You consider “sending a letter (PDF)” to be redemptive of the ACLU? The mere fact they acknowledge that this was their forte, in the case with schools throughout the Southern US not allowing kids to wear the American flag regardless of day, and the extent of their action was a letter?

        Was this a strongly worded letter?

        Did it promise legal action?

        Did it result in any other action taken by the ACLU?


      • Rooty

        Dude, do you have an inferiority complex or something …ginney2 didn’t deserve your sarcasm. BTW – If her opinions are “prejudices”, does that mean she has less right to them than you do yours ? Typical tolerant liberal !

    • petem

      ginny2, do you have a link to that story? I don’t recall it and would like to read it.

  • Jack

    Dress codes eliminate this issue. School is place for education, not politics or personal adgendas.

    • MC1171611

      If school is a place for education, then they are failing miserably. However, if the intended purpose is Socialist indoctrination, then they are succeeding marvelously.

  • Rob Cleary

    The world according to Obama. What a mess the Kenyan has made.

    • hopeimwrongjj

      right , however WHAT are you doing to help clean up the Kenyan’s mess
      in stead of blaming and adding to it?

      • petem

        Rob Cleary doesn’t believe in helping…his mission is to point out the mistakes (as he sees it) that everyone else makes…

      • Tsal

        Hi Pete at least BZ is removing his or her posts.

  • TT

    School is a place for personal agenda. It was forty years ago when I went, too. It’s part of the education process.

    • Rationalist

      if personal agendas are allowable, then why is prayer, the Ten Commandments and all mentioning of Jesus Christ restricted…?

  • blackbear1

    Nice going Mayor!! You have just rendered the Principal powerless to run the school. I think it is you that is imposing your personal will on others, and I hope the voters put you out of office next election. The extremely questionable ACLU does not belong in the educational process. I am a Lynn English alum and retired teacher, and caanot believe what you have done to the Principal.. The tail wagging the dog!!!

    • Petr

      The Principal is not powerless, but in this instance it shows what a closed mindided individual he is. He is dead wrong!

      • BillyBob

        Kick the filthy, disgusting perverts out of school.

  • Ron T

    I also agree the school should have the power for its own dress code, and to have sensible limits on what students should be allowed to wear!

    None of this nonsense would been allowed in the 50’s, at all!!

  • robd

    She only wore the shirt to get a rise out of people, that’s the only reason she wore it. She succeeded, and now she’s making a bigger mess to get more attention. That’s all it is.

    Was it disruptive? Probably. People making a clamor over something in a school is generally what “disruptive” means.

    This doesn’t mean a public school can enact a uniform policy, BUT they should be able to control shirts like this. (PS: I’m only a freshman in college, I was just in high school last year, I remember a thing or two about dress codes and the such)

  • FireGuyFrank

    I wonder what would happen if a student were to wear a t-shirt that says, “All the cool kids are Christian”?

    Yes, it is a rhetorical question. We know the answer, don’t we.


    • Ron B

      Or, ‘All the cool girls are straight.’ Then we’d hear how that shirt was promoting hate and made the wearer a bully.

  • Scanner Man

    With all the unsolved murders and major drug activity in Lynn, its good to see they are tackling the important issues……… Im glad the fashion police have been called in to take care of this……

  • Matt

    If she is hot then I have no problem with it. But if she looks like John Goodman then forget it.

  • Matt

    The word I think you are looking for is great.

    • Michlin

      Homosexuality does not make a person great, per se.

      • BillyBob

        homosexuality makes a person a pervert. homophobia is nothing more than good taste and common decency.

      • Billy Bob

        Nor cool. They all seem kinda sad and sickly looking.

  • response

    “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,”
    so, kids can wear what ever they want to? really?
    I’ll make up a shirt regarding the ACLU, send my child to school in it and see what happens……

    • Tsal

      Interesting lesson for your child.

  • emom

    WOW, what next, In most schools they have a dress code, My kids school makes them change the shirt , and if they can not they give them a shirt to wear to cover it up….. You know just wait ,, some girl is going to take offense to this shirt,, and sue the school for allowing it on the school ,,,, Another case of stupidity and unlawful law suits. Lets see,, kids are going to make a statement that they want to wear what ever they want…… there will be more pants around their knees, skirts far to short, short shorts, stiletto shoes, hip boots, tattoos all over,,, piercings everywhere, bellies will start to show, more cleavage, and girls dressing like Hookers. these are the thinks they took out of the schools for a reason, it is distracting, there is no place in a school for that, School is not a fashion runway. Yeah she is not trying to make a statement or looking for her 15 minutes of fame… GUESS WHAT YOU DID…… Kids running amok….

  • Pamela

    Ok – I’m a liberal, gay-rights supporting, tree-hugging Mom of two teenagers and I can say honestly that I agree with the school telling her not to wear the shirt. It’s a high school and high schools have dress codes. These are not adults yet and while freedom of expression can apply for certain things, it does not apply in cases of clothing that makes a statement of any sort. I don’t think kids should be wearing shirts that say I Love Boys either – but a shirt that starts with “All the Cool Kids…..” is not a good idea at all and I agree that the Mayor supporting this girl against the school is undermining the school administrators and our schools struggle enough with maintaining order as it is.

    This could easily be seen as a tshirt that bullies. What if the shirt said “all the cool kids play football”?

    • Tsal

      Pamela. Are you positive this high school has a dress code and if so what it is. My town doesnt

  • jaygee

    Oh, you’re gay, huh Robby? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • Michlin

    It always strikes me why many homosexuals feel a need to wear their sexuality on their sleeve. A person is who a person is. No need to wave that flag.

    I agree with the school administration.

  • Tsal

    Wow. If there isn’t a dress code then how does anyone see this as a problem. If there is then there is the answer. Simple

  • F. Andersen

    Pretty sad when so much time & energy gets wasted on something this stupid. Bring back dress codes. Maybe even school uniforms. And the Principal ought to be left alone to run his school. The mayor is a moron.

  • Rob Cleary

    Is it OK to wear my “Michelle Obama is a Man” shirt?

  • Paige Roper Norman

    So if someone wore a shirt to school that said “All the cool girls are Christian” (or Muslim or Catholic or Mormon or???) would they still be allow to “voice” their freedom of expression?

    Yeah, I thought so.

  • Larry Pierson

    Wow – a school official that disses leftist T shirts as much as most will diss a consevative T-shirt.

  • Ran

    Dress codes aside why is it that we limit free speech such that it now only exists for practical purposes on the internet and in private settings? Many businesses have work rules on offending others that they extend beyond the workplace. They also have 1 800 numbers for fellow workers to complain to secretly should they ever be offended. Now private universities desire to restrict various forms of speech as well.
    There is no need for a dress code to ban political discourse. The ACLU earlier won a battle allowing a student to wear a t shirt that said she supported straiht pride.

  • Blanca de la Nieve

    LOL! Only a Leftwing-indoctinated girl, of demonstrably homely bearing, would be delusional enough to believe such an enormous lie! Despite thousands of years of human evolution, she creates and wears a tee shirt with a blatantly counter-intuitive message! (Even the most deluded of utopian non-thinkers know it ain’t so!) Anybody with a minimum of brain cell activity, knows that all cool girls are beautiful, intelligent and HETEROSEXUAL…It has always been that way. It IS that way. And it will ALWAYS be that way…It’s simply human nature!

  • BillyBob

    What will the hate group aclu and the pervert parade think about wearing a shirt to school that concemns the perversion of homosexuality?

  • GBMeyers

    I guess if one can wear a shirt supporting homosexuality then one can also wear a shirt condemnig homosexuality. Or would that be immediately labeled “hate” speech and not to be tolerated?

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