School lifts ban on gay teen's shirt

April 5, 2012 at 11:43 AM
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WAYNESVILLE, Ohio, April 5 (UPI) -- An Ohio high school has agreed to lift its ban on a T-shirt with the slogan "Jesus Is Not A Homophobe" for one day.

Maverick Couch, a gay 17-year-old, was banned from wearing the T-shirt at Waynesville High School after he first wore it to school last April, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

School officials told Couch the shirt violated rules against clothing that is "indecent or sexual in nature," Schools Superintendent Pat Dubbs said Tuesday.

Couch filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday after the school's principal, Randy Gebhardt, repeatedly denied his requests to wear the shirt to school.

On Wednesday, the school agreed to let Couch wear the shirt on April 20 to show support for Day of Silence, a protest against the bullying of gay students.

A lawyer for Couch said the concession does not end the case, as Couch cannot wear the shirt whenever he wants, adding the ban violates the student's First Amendment right to free speech.

"A student's First Amendment rights are not restricted to one day of the year," said Christopher Clark, Couch's lawyer. "We will continue to fight until Maverick is allowed to express who he is on any day he chooses."

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