Justices Decline to Hear Student’s Appeal in Gay-Tolerance Case

By Mark Walsh — February 23, 2009 1 min read
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The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear the appeal of a Kentucky student who challenged a school policy that he believed barred him from speaking out against homosexuality.

The case stems from a contentious battle in Boyd County, Ky., over gay issues in the schools, starting with a group that successfully fought to establish a gay-straight student alliance at a high school.

That fight led to the adoption of a high school code of conduct that prohibited harassment of students on the basis of sexual orientation. Also, the 3,300-student Boyd County district was required to conduct mandatory anti-harassment training for all students. (Education Week reported on the controversy here.)

Timothy A. Morrison II, who was a student at Boyd County High School in 2004-05, objected to the code and the diversity training, arguing that it chilled his First Amendment speech right to spread a message that homosexuality was wrong.

Both a federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, ruled for the school district. A panel of the 6th Circuit ruled 2-1 last April that Morrison was never disciplined under the code and thus suffered no actual legal injuries. The code was later amended.

The justices declined without comment to hear the former student’s appeal in Morrison v. Board of Education of Boyd County (Case No. 08-701).

A version of this news article first appeared in The School Law Blog.