A judge has sided with Michigan teenager Daniel Glowacki in a case regarding whether or not his free speech rights had been violated. Howell High School teacher Johnson McDowell was ordered to pay $1 for removing Glawacki from his classroom during an anti-bullying day activity.
In 2010, Glowacki stated that he could not accept gays because of his religion. This came after McDowell played a short video about someone who had committed suicide due to being bullied for being gay.
According to the reports, McDowell wore a purple shirt on 20 October in solidarity with bullied LGBT youth. Students asked about the garment, and McDowell explained its significance. That set off an argument that resulted in Glawacki being removed from the classroom.
Glowacki protested about the shirt’s significance because McDowell had asked another student to remove their Confederate flag belt buckle. The young woman did so without protest.
McDowell’s students defended him afterwards for removing Glawacki.
McDowell was later reprimanded. That letter red, in part, that “You went on to discipline two students who told you they do not accept gays due to their religion. After a failure of getting one student to recant, you engaged in an unsupported snap suspension, rather than allow the student his beliefs.”
The judge noted that Glowacki has a right under the First Amendment to say that, and that McDowell was “primarily motivated” by his disagreement with Glawacki’s views.
McDowell was suspended for a short period of time over the incident. Glawacki graduated from school in 2012.