A southwestern Ohio school district has partially reversed its decision banning a student from wearing his “Jesus Is Not a Homophobe” t-shirt to school. The decision comes one day after the student and his mother sued the school.
Maverick Couch, a student at Waynesville High School, had worn the t-shirt to school last April on the National Day of Silence, an event that brings attention to bullying and harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students in schools.The Waynesville principal told Maverick, 16, he had to remove his shirt or turn it inside out.
That time, Maverick turned his shirt inside out, but the teenager and his mother eventually contacted the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a nonprofit that advocates for “lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those living with HIV.” The group’s lawyers sent a letter to the district in support of the teenager’s right to wear the t-shirt in question to school.
The district’s lawyer responded, saying the high school principal was right to order Maverick not to wear his “Jesus Is Not a Homophobe” shirt to school beause the message communicated by the student’s T-shirt was sexual in nature and therefore indecent and inappropriate in a school setting.”
So Maverick and his mother filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday. The following day, the school district backed down, agreeing to allow Maverick to wear his shirt, featuring the written message and a rainbow-shaded ichthys, to school on April 20, the 2012 National Day of Silence, according to court records:
By agreement of the parties the minor in question can wear the Tee Shirt described in the pleadings to school on 4/20/12
Lawyers for the Couches and the school district plan to meet in the coming weeks to reach a final resolution on whether the “Jesus Is Not a Homophobe” shirt may be worn on other days of the year, according to court records.
The school district superintendent told the Associated Press that “some progress was made in the case.” The Couches’ lawyer said in a press release, “We will continue to fight until Maverick is allowed to express who he is on any day he chooses.”