A 12-year-old boy from Massachusetts claimed he was sent home from school a few weeks ago for wearing a t-shirt that declared that there are “only two genders,” which he was told made other students feel “unsafe.”
Liam Morrison, a seventh grader at John T. Nichols Jr. Middle School in Middleborough, recounted the incident during a Middleborough School Committee meeting on April 13 — and his fiery speech went viral Sunday after being picked up by the popular right-wing Twitter account Libs of TikTok.
Morrison said he was pulled from gym class on March 21 and met with school officials, who told him during what he described as an “uncomfortable talk” that people were complaining about the message on his shirt, which they said made them feel “unsafe.”
“They told me that I wasn’t in trouble, but it sure felt like I was,” the boy stated. “I was told that I would need to remove my shirt before I could return to class. When I nicely told them that I didn’t want to do that, they called my father.”
The 12-year-old noted that his father was supportive of his stance and arrived at school to pick him up.
Morrison insisted that the five words printed on his shirt conveyed “nothing harmful, nothing threatening. Just a statement I believe to be a fact.”
Morrison said he was told the slogan on his shirt was “targeting a protected class” — apparently referring to transgender and nonbinary people — and was a “disruption to learning.”
The 12-year-old pushed back against those claims in his address to the school committee.
“Who is this protected class?” he asked. “Are their feelings more important than my rights? I don’t complain when I see Pride flags and diversity posters hung throughout the school. Do you know why? Because others have a right to their beliefs, just as I do.”
The seventh-grader further argued that his shirt caused no disruption in the classroom.
“No one got up and stormed out of class. No one burst into tears,” Morrison told his audience. “I’m sure I would have noticed if they had.”
“I experience disruptions to my learning every day,” he added. “Kids acting out in class are a disruption, yet nothing is done. Why do the rules apply to one yet not another?”
Morrison pointed out that before he was booted from the school, “not one person” complained to him directly about the words on his shirt — and he said some students had even expressed their support for him.
The student emphasized that he did not go to school that day wearing that shirt to “hurt feelings of cause trouble,” but rather to exercise his right to free speech.
“I know that I have a right to wear a shirt with those five words,” Morrison said. “Even at 12 years old, I have my own political opinions and I have a right to express those opinions. Even at school. This right is called the First Amendment to the Constitution.”
Morrison concluded his address by calling on the School Committee to protect the rights of students to express themselves freely.
“Next time, it may not only be me,” he warned. “There might be more soon that decide to speak out.”
As the middle-schooler’s defiant speech began drawing attention over the weekend, the Massachusetts Family Institute, a Christian conservative nonprofit, announced on Twitter that it was providing legal support for the boy.
The Middleborough school superintendent did not immediately respond to request for comment Monday.
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