Ohio school pays $20,000 in ‘Jesus Is Not a Homophobe’ T-shirt lawsuit
For the April 2011 Day of Silence, Maverick Couch wore the shirt to school, but Waynesville High School
Principal Randy Gebhardt ordered him to turn the shirt inside out. When
Maverick asked to wear it again this past fall, Gebhardt threatened him
When asked why he should be allowed to wear the shirt, Couch cited his First Amendment right to freedom of speech saying, “When I can’t walk into school expressing my views, I don’t think that’s right,” to WCPO.
- Cohen v. California (1971): Overturned a disturbing the peace conviction of a man who wore a jacket with an explicit phrase condemning the war
- Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969): Established the constitutional rights of students in public schools
Although subsequent cases have limited the application of Tinker, it remains a viable test of whether a school’s actions violate the First Amendment.
The judgment, agreed to by Maverick Couch and the Waynesville Local School District, allows
the student to wear the “Jesus Is Not A Homophobe” T-shirt and requires
the district to pay $20,000 in damages and court costs.
Although Couch is set to graduate this
weekend, he said the shirt is a statement of pride and he hopes other
students now know they can feel pride, too.
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