Gay Ohio Student Sues Over Right to Wear T-Shirt

Courtney Williams's picture
Thursday, April 5, 2012

A gay high school student in Ohio who claims his freedom of expression was violated over a T-shirt is taking his school district to federal court.

Waynesville High School student Maverick Couch, 16, says he was threatened with suspension for wearing a T-shirt reading “Jesus Is Not A Homophobe” and bearing the Christian fish symbol. Couch wore the shirt last year in support of the “Day of Silence,” an annual event sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network where students spend a day in silence to raise awareness of anti-gay bullying and harassment.

Couch, a sophomore, claims in his lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, that he was told by the school’s principal, Randy Gebhardt, that the shirt was “indecent and sexual in nature” and had to be worn inside out.

Couch obliged but wore the shirt again the next day, prompting Gebhardt, Couch says, to threaten him with suspension if he wore the shirt again.

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