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School Allows High-Schoolers to Wear Anti-Gay Stickers

The Short of It

Students at a California high school are being permitted to display anti-gay stickers on their I.D. badges.

The Lowdown

The administrators at Shadow Hills High School in Indio, Calif., say since some kids can affix gay rights stickers to their identification badges, other kids are also allowed the same freedom of speech if they wish to declare their anti-gay sentiments. The catch: the stickers, which show a small rainbow inside a circle with a line through it, can't cause a disruption. As many as a dozen students are wearing the offensive stickers.

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Clearly, administrators feel it's possible for kids to express their beliefs about sexuality without creating a negative learning environment because they released this statement about the stickers: "We all have a right to freedom of speech, but students also have a right to be educated without fear. This has always been our policy, and we will continue to enforce it."

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The Upshot

What I found interesting about the Shadow Hills' stance is that federal courts have allowed schools to ban students from wearing clothing or flare that mentions drug use or displays hate speech against a particular religion or race. But these anti-gay stickers are permitted?

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This doesn't seem to fit, and at least one educator at the school agrees. Referring to a previous 1969 Supreme Court case that says kids don't shed their freedom of speech when they enter a school, Amy Oberman, an Advanced Placement U.S. History teacher, told ABC News, "Yes, there is freedom of speech established by Tinker [v. Des Moines], but at least in my view, it's a hate crime because a group was targeted."

Allowing these stickers may also encourage bullying among the kids who wear them and the ones who wear gay rights stickers.

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