Lambda Legal Sues Ohio School Over Student’s ‘Jesus is Not a Homophobe’ T-Shirt

Lambda Legal sued the the Waynesville School District today on behalf of Maverick Couch, a high school student who wore a T-shirt with a rainbow Ichthys and a slogan reading “Jesus Is Not a Homophobe” in observation of the National Day of Silence.

JesusisnotahomophobeLambda Legal outlines its complaint:

The school principal, Mr. Randy Gebhardt, called Maverick into his office and instructed him to turn the T-shirt inside out; Maverick complied. Maverick went home and conducted some research and concluded he should have the right to wear the T-shirt, and wore it again the following day. He was again summoned to the principal’s office, his mother was called into the school, and was told to remove the T-shirt or face suspension; Maverick again complied. Over the summer, Maverick further researched his First Amendment rights, and when school resumed in the fall of 2011, he approached the school principal seeking permission to wear the T-shirt. Mr. Gebhardt restated that he would be suspended if he wore the shirt.

In January 2012, Lambda Legal sent a letter to Mr. Gebhardt outlining the legal precedent supporting Maverick’s right to wear the shirt, to which the school district issued the response, “…the message communicated by the student’s T-shirt is sexual in nature and therefore indecent and inappropriate in a school setting.” On April 3, 2012, Lambda Legal filed suit against the Wayne Local School District on Maverick’s behalf, arguing that the Waynesville School District violated the First Amendment and well-settled legal precedent supporting students’ free speech.

More informatino on the case can be found at Lambda Legal's site.

Comments

  1. Josh says

    Seems like a pretty clear-cut legal slam dunk. Go Lambda Legal. Sue this district into the 21st century! “Indecent, sexual in nature” T shirt, my foot.

  2. jexer says

    Dear Mr. Gebhardt …the message communicated by YOUR WEDDING RING is JUST AS sexual in nature AS THIS T-SHIRT and therefore indecent and inappropriate in a school setting.

  3. Paul R says

    Students don’t always have free speech rights, but with that shirt the school district will lose. The shirt is religious in nature. The shirt is promoting the bible. You can say plenty of things about it. The principal is really stupid.

    Unless the shirt caused disruption in a classroom—which it seems like the principal is the one doing—this kid will win. Yay.

  4. Justin Manning says

    You would think after four or five years of these stories being reported, and schools always losing, that administrators would finally wave a ‘white flag’.

    Guess not.

  5. Commenter says

    Marcus:

    Is there a typo in the email address that you provided? It looks like the principal’s last name might be typed incorrectly. I just want to make sure our emails actually make it to this creep.

  6. Greg says

    I really appreciate Maverick doing the right thing even in the face of personal suffering. Such acts as this are the very definition of courage; championing the constitution, fighting domestic threats to liberty, equality and justice; such a battle is no less brave and patriotic than the sacrifice warriors make. This living life to further the right thing is in fact giving life and waging of peace under rule of law. In the end it gives the Nation more and costs the nation less.

  7. JD says

    I’m a school counselor in a district that borders the Wayne Local (Waynesville HS) School District. They are currently on Spring Break and won’t return until April 10th, so you might not be able to get anyone if you’re calling or emailing….and yes, that area is about 25 years behind the current times. Very small, rural, and a religious community. Hope Maverick Wins!!

  8. pozgay says

    Absolutely discrimination. This is the reason why I love PozKiss . c0m as a Safe Gay Club for HIV Gay and Gay men with herpes to find Gay relationships and Poz Match.

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