On Dec. 1, the ACLU of Montana honored a young woman who is already making a difference protecting the rights of others in Kalispell -- even though she has yet to graduate from high school.
When Flathead High School administrators told one of Barrie Sue Sugarman's classmates that she had to change out of a T-shirt saying, "Legalize Gay," or go home, Barrie Sue organized a demonstration in support of free speech.
She knew that students have a right to express their views -- a right that was firmly established in 1969 when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mary Beth Tinker and her classmates' right to wear black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War. So Barrie Sue encouraged students to wear T-shirts with the slogan of their choice on front and "T-shirts for Tinker" on the back.
It was a great educational moment for students, teachers and administrators at her school.
We were very pleased to give Barrie Sue a Jeannette Rankin Civil Liberties Award in honor of her commitment to protecting the First Amendment.
Hear what she has to say in this two-minute video.
We're happy that Barrie Sue is one of the next generation of civil liberties leaders, and we look forward to working with her for years to come.