Manchester High School Student Sues Over T-Shirt

Nov 24, 2020

A shirt similar to this one is the subject of a federal lawsuit involving Manchester High School's administration.
Credit Screenshot of t-shirt design

The ACLU has sued the principal and assistant-principal of Manchester High School in federal court, alleging they violated the First Amendment rights of a Black student.

According to the lawsuit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, a Black junior at the Wabash County school wore a t-shirt saying “I hope I don’t get killed for being Black today” to school in August.

Assistant principal Dorey Mobley summoned the student, identified only as D.E. to the office during the first period, saying there had been a complaint about the shirt.

Principal Jon Lippe looked at the shirt and said “that is not going to fly,” according to court documents.

They gave the student another shirt to wear, and he refused because he felt strongly he had a right to wear the shirt.

According to court documents, the student is one of few Black students at the school and alleges he has been the subject of racial epithets and believes the shirt’s message is important.

Court documents allege that students are regularly allowed to wear t-shirts adorned with weapons in support of police officers, MAGA apparel in support of the president, and clothing adorned with the confederate flag.

Manchester Superintendent Teresa Gremaux declined to comment on the pending litigation.

“Schools cannot selectively choose which social issues students can support through messages on their clothing,” said Ken Falk, legal director at the ACLU of Indiana.

The student is seeking damages and an injunction allowing him to wear the shirt, according to court documents.

According to the Indiana Department of Education, the population of Black students within the Manchester Community Schools district is less than 1 percent.