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Massachusetts middle schooler banned from wearing ‘only two genders’ shirt loses federal appeals case

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Massachusetts middle schooler banned from wearing ‘only two genders’ shirt loses federal appeals case


The local middle schooler who was barred from wearing an “only two genders” shirt to school has lost his federal appeals case, as his attorneys consider a Supreme Court appeal.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit in Boston has ruled against Middleboro student Liam Morrison in the high-profile First Amendment case.

Liam, now in 8th grade, last year was banned by school officials from wearing a shirt to school that read, “There are only two genders.” The 7th grader then wore a shirt that stated, “There are censored genders,” and again, he was ordered to take off the shirt.

A U.S. district judge previously ruled in favor of the Middleboro school officials, and the appeals court over the weekend affirmed the district court’s ruling.

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“This case is about much more than a t-shirt,” a lawyer for the Massachusetts Family Institute said in response to the appeals court ruling. “The court’s decision is not only a threat to the free speech rights of public school students across the country, but a threat to basic biological truths.”

“While we are disappointed in this decision, we aren’t done fighting yet,” the attorney Sam Whiting added. “Along with our partners at Alliance Defending Freedom, we are reviewing all legal options, including appealing to the United States Supreme Court.”

The Middleboro school district each year celebrates Pride month, hanging Pride flags and sending the message that there are “an unlimited number of genders,” one of Liam’s lawyers had argued in front of the appeals court.

In response to the school’s view, Liam wore the controversial shirt to Nichols Middle School last year.

School officials in response to the shirt told Liam to either take off the shirt or leave school for the day. Liam chose to miss the rest of his classes that day.

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When the Middleboro principal pulled Liam out of class and told him he had to take off his shirt, the principal said they had received complaints about the words on his shirt — and that the words might make some students feel unsafe.

“Middleborough was enforcing a dress code, so it was making a forecast regarding the disruptive impact of a particular means of expression and not of, say, a stray remark on a playground, a point made during discussion or debate, or a classroom inquiry,” the appeals court ruling reads. “The forecast concerned the predicted impact of a message that would confront any student proximate to it throughout the school day.”

School officials “knew the serious nature of the struggles, including suicidal ideation, that some of those students had experienced related to their treatment based on their gender identities by other students, and the effect those struggles could have on those students’ ability to learn.” the appeals court wrote.

“We think it was reasonable for Middleborough to forecast that a message displayed throughout the school day denying the existence of the gender identities of transgender and gender non-conforming students would have a serious negative impact on those students’ ability to concentrate on their classroom work,” the court added.

The court decision will allow schools to silence dissent, according to the Massachusetts Family Institute.

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Whiting added, “Although there was no evidence that Liam’s message caused a disruption at school, the court held that the possibility that some students might suffer psychological distress from his shirt was enough to justify censoring him.”



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Birthday girl becomes Miss Massachusetts’ Teen in Fall River; here are all the winners

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Birthday girl becomes Miss Massachusetts’ Teen in Fall River; here are all the winners


FALL RIVER —It was a 17th birthday that she will never forget for Maggie Leighton of Leominster, a rising senior at Leominster High School, who was named Miss Massachusetts’ Teen 2024.  The 24th annual competition was held on Sunday June 16th at B.M.C Durfee High School in Fall River.  Sixteen candidates from across the Commonwealth competed for the title and over $6,700 was awarded to the contestants in scholarships. Emma Gibney of New Bedford, Miss Massachusetts’ Teen 2023 crowned her successor before an audience of more than 300 attendees. 

Leighton, who competed as Miss Cranberry Country’s Teen, will compete at the Miss America’s Teen competition in Orlando, Florida in January 2025.  As Miss Massachusetts’ Teen, she will receive $3,000 in scholarships and various awards and gifts from competition sponsors.  At the national competition, she will have the opportunity to compete for thousands of dollars more.

 Leighton will dedicate her year of service to her personal Community Service Initiative, “Play On – Ensuring Access to Music Education.” Maggie states “The benefits of music education ripple out into all areas of a student’s life – it can build confidence, reduce anxiety, and give students a place they belong.  I will use my year of service as Miss Massachusetts’ Teen to advocate for all students to have access to school music programs regardless of their financial situations.”   She will also promote the Miss America Opportunity’s national platform, The American Heart Association’s Go Red campaign. At the state competition, the 16 candidates collectively raised nearly $8,000 for The American Heart Association and the Miss America and Miss Massachusetts scholarship organizations.

At Leominster High School, Maggie was the 2024 recipient of the Harvard Book Award and is a member of the National Honor Society, where she was inducted as a sophomore.  She is the Leominster High School representative on the Mayor’s Youth Council, and she has received academic excellence awards in Italian. She is also active in the performing arts at school as a member of the show choir and chorus.  An accomplished pianist and vocalist, Leighton was the recipient of the Music in the Parks Accompanist Award and the Best Performer Award at the Central Massachusetts Show Choir Festival.  Maggie is also very involved in sports at school, where she is a member of the volleyball and tennis teams.  She was an Honorable Mention award winner for Player of the Year for the USA Today High School Sports Award as well as an All-Star Player Award for the Midland Wachusett MA League. She also studies ballet and jazz.

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Leighton plans to obtain a B.S. in Biochemistry and continue to medical school to become a cardiologist.  She is the daughter of Jennifer and Corey Leighton of Leominster.  For the talent portion of the competition, she performed a vocal to “Livin’ On a Prayer” by Bon Jovi.

The Miss Massachusetts’ Teen competition includes teenagers from ages 13 to 18.    Other winners received scholarship awards.  They included:

The first runner-up was Laila Hosnander, a 16-year-old rising junior at Minnechaug Regional High School.  She resides in Hampden and was awarded a $1,000 scholarship.   She competed as Miss Worcester County’s Teen.

The second runner-up and the recipient of a $750 scholarship was Marianna McCallum of Walpole, 16, a rising junior at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick. She competed as Miss Taunton’s Teen.

The third runner-up was Faith O’Hanlon who received a $500 scholarship.  A resident of North Attleboro, she is an 18-year-old graduate of Bishop Feehan High School who will be attending Auburn University in the fall.    She competed as an At-Large contestant.

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The fourth runner-up was Na’Shajia Monteiro, 18, of New Bedford.  A June 2024 graduate of Old Rochester Regional High School she competed as Miss Boston’s Teen.  She received a scholarship of $250.  She will be attending the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in the fall.

The Non-Finalist Interview Award winner and the recipient of a $100 scholarship was Miss Fall River’s Teen Lillian Annette Rankin. She also received the Marketing Award Scholarship in the amount of $100 for being the combined highest fundraiser for ad sales and the Spot Fund American Heart Association.  She is a 17-year-old rising senior at Silver Lake Regional High School and resides in Plympton.

The Non-Finalist Evening Gown winner and the recipient of a $100 scholarship was Jaime St. Onge of Acushnet. She is the current Miss Southeastern Massachusetts’ Teen. A June 2024 graduate of Fairhaven High School, she will be attending Stonehill College in the fall.

The 4th Annual Millie Perry Community Service Award and the recipient of a $100 scholarship was Miss Middleboro’s Teen Anastasia Rose.  This award was judged by an outside panel and was named in honor of the late mother of the State Teen Director Donna Klamkin. Anastasia’s Community Service Initiative is called “Stasia Strong ~ Staying Strong for Others, Helping Those Battling Cancer”. The 16-year-old rising junior at Old Colony Regional Vocational High School resides in Acushnet.

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Miss New Bedford’s Teen Layla Rej Johnson, a 16-year-old rising junior at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School was the winner of the  Online SpotFund People’s Choice Award. She received half of the money she raised for a total of $870.  For the month leading up to the competition, voters could choose their favorite candidate and vote for her online to be eligible for this scholarship award. Layla is a resident of New Bedford.

The Spirit of Miss Massachusetts’ Teen which was voted by her peers was Miss Cape Cod’s Teen, 14-year-old Bree LeFavor of Marion.  She is a rising freshman at Old Rochester Regional High School.

The other candidates included:

Alyssa Mae Babineau, 18, of Malden, is a 2024 graduate of Malden Catholic High School and will enter St. Anselm College in the fall. She competed as Miss Whitman’s Teen. 

Elaina Bergeron, 16, of Wilbraham, is a rising junior at Minnechaug Regional High School. She competed as Miss Pioneer Valley’s Teen.

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Olivia Charest, 14, of New Bedford, is a rising freshman at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School. She competed as Miss Freetown’s Teen.

Maddie Mathias, 16, of Ludlow, is a rising junior at Ludlow High School. She competed as Miss Western Massachusetts’ Teen.

Noelle O’Hanlon, 15 of North Attleboro is a rising sophomore at Bishop Feehan High School. She competed Miss Blackstone Valley’s Teen

Katie Thomas, 15, of Fall River, is a rising sophomore at B.M.C Durfee High School. She competed as Miss Lakeville’s Teen.

The Miss Massachusetts’ Teen competition is affiliated with the Miss Massachusetts Scholarship Foundation.  For information about the Miss Massachusetts’ Teen program, or to book Maggie for an appearance, you can email Donna Klamkin at donnaklamkin@gmail.com.

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For information about The Miss Massachusetts’ Teen program, visit www.mmaoteen.org.   



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Tornado watch issued for parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire

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Tornado watch issued for parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire


Next Weather: WBZ mid-day update for June 23

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Next Weather: WBZ mid-day update for June 23

01:13

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WORCESTER – The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for parts of Massachusetts north and west of Boston as well as New Hampshire through 8 p.m. on Sunday.

The tornado watch in New England includes all of New Hampshire and Vermont, plus southern Maine. In Massachusetts, the watch includes Worcester, Middlesex, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire and Berkshire counties. 

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WBZ-TV graphic

CBS Boston


The National Weather Service said the watch area covers more than 8 million people. “A few tornadoes” are likely, along with the possibility of pingpong ball-sized hail and wind gusts of up to 70 mph.

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Severe weather forecast in New England

Strong to severe storms are expected in central and northern New England between noon and 5 p.m., In southern New England, the timeline is between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The Storms Prediction Center issued an unusually high tornado risk assessment for the region on Sunday.

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WBZ-TV graphic

CBS Boston


The center said there was a 10% risk for a tornado for much of New Hampshire, central and western Massachusetts. The Boston area into Metrowest Massachusetts and Norfolk County were given a 5% chance of a tornado.

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What is a tornado watch vs. a tornado warning?

According to the National Weather Service, a tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for a tornado to form. A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted on radar or observed on the ground. 

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WBZ-TV graphic

CBS Boston


“A watch is when you start to have a plan in place,” WBZ-TV meteorologist Jacob Wycoff explains. “A tornado warning is when you need to take action immediately.” 

Click here for information about what to do during a tornado warning.

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Massachusetts Weather Radar



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Guatemalan man living in Massachusetts deported for 2023 domestic assaults, sentenced for reentry – New Bedford Guide

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Guatemalan man living in Massachusetts deported for 2023 domestic assaults, sentenced for reentry – New Bedford Guide


“BOSTON – A Lawrence man was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for illegally reentering the United States after being deported.

Brayan Zepeda, 33, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Julia E. Kobick to eight months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release. Zepeda will be subject to deportation proceedings upon completion of his sentence. On March 28, 2024, Zepeda pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful reentry of a deported alien.

Zepeda, a citizen of Guatemala, was deported from the United States on Jan. 12, 2023 after serving several state sentences for domestic assault and violation of a restraining order. At some point thereafter, Zepeda returned to the United States and was arrested by the Littleton Police Department in October 2023.

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Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy and Todd M. Lyons, Field Office Director, Boston, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Grady of the Major Crimes Unit prosecuted the case.”-Massachusetts Department of Justice.



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