Tyler Harper, a student at Poway High School in Poway, CA, wore a shirt to school which read "Be Ashamed, Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned'' on the front and "Homosexuality Is Shameful'' on the back. Not surprisingly, this provoked a response from some other students. They discussed the issue, stated their disagreement, and left it at that. No violence, no disruption, no breakdowns. "While words were exchanged, the students managed the situation well and without intervention from the school authorities. No doubt, everyone learned an important civics lesson about dealing with others who hold sharply divergent views.''
That is the assessment of Judge Alex Kozinski. Yes, the grownups turned this t-shirt into a federal case. Literally. The school banned the shirt on the grounds that it might injure homosexual students and might interfere with learning. When the case got to the notorious Ninth Circuit of the federal appeals court, the court sided 2 – 1 with the school's ban. Judge Kozinski issued a sharp dissent, partly quoted above.
Judge Kozinski is right. Tyler Harper expressed his views civilly. The other students, according to the record, responded the same way. Free speech wins. The marketplace of ideas is served. Students actually learn something in school.
The attempt to enforce anyone's political correctness in schools backfires. It teaches students that school officials are hypocrites when they talk about critical thinking, and cowards when they don't support actual critical thought. When the common schools are captured by one ideological faction, it fuels the movement to create separate schools and undermines support for the very idea of common schools and a common culture.
The remedy for speech you don't like is more speech.