Communications Director's blog

Study finds three Massachusetts cities overuse arrests at schools

Ground-breaking report on Springfield, Worcester, and Boston schools by ACLU and Citizens for Juvenile Justice uncovers significant racial disparities as well as arrests for disruptions once handled by schools and parents.

At Liberty: Friday, April 13, 2012

It's not the First Amendment for nothing. We're highlighting ways
people are using their freedom of expression and other liberties.

The web can't do justice to the ICA's new exhibit of work by Charline von Heyl, with just a standard news release and perfunctory online slideshow. In fact, the contrast between that virtual flatness and how von Heyl's work looks in person is a testament to her skill. Pieces on display through July 15 are variously huge, almost microscopically intricate, and somehow seem brighter than possible. As my friend Liz Colburn-Moraites wrote after visiting this week, "This exhibit is absolutely fantastic, she breaks the bounds of painting. Slides of her work do not do them justice. You must give her work time to draw you in and then it engulfs you." - CO

Court prohibits religious restrictions on government-funded trafficking victims' program

ACLU challenged distribution of funds with prohibition on use for contraceptive and abortion referrals and services.

Justice is supposed to be blind, but not investigators

The ACLU responds to the killing of Trayvon Martin, from Florida to Massachusetts

Bringing another boy or girl as your date to the prom... in 1980 and today

By Chris Ott, ACLU of Massachusetts communications director

It took courage for a boy to try bringing another boy to the prom in 1980--and even more to sue his school for the way it responded.

That's the true story of Rhode Island student Aaron Fricke, at the heart of Reflections of a Rock Lobster, the premiere of a play by Burgess Clark, performed by the Boston Children's Theatre--now in its second and last weekend. Tickets are available here.

Our friends at GLAD took that pioneering case, Fricke v. Lynch--but unfortunately, the troubles faced by students like Aaron Fricke and his date continue, more than 30 years later.

It was less than two years ago that a school in Mississippi pushed Constance McMillen into national headlines by forbidding her to bring her girlfriend to the prom. Meanwhile, bullying of students like Zach Huston or, wrenchingly, Seth Walsh (1997-2010), remains a terrible problem.

But there's good news. With ACLU help, Constance McMillen won: her school agreed to create a policy protecting students from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, pay Constance $35,000 plus attorneys' fees and expenses, and have the court enter a judgment against her school.

The ACLU is also working for LGBT equality across the country and right here in Massachusetts to make sure that everyone is treated equally no matter who they love... or even just like enough to invite to the prom.