A high school student in Cincinnati, Ohio will not be barred from wearing an anti-homophobia t-shirt on the National Day of Silence this year while a law suit against the school proceeds.
Maverick Couch, 17, of Waynesville High School wanted to wear the t-shirt on April 20 to show his support for the Day of Silence, which draws attention to the plight of LGBT students who suffer from bullying and abuse.
The garment was deemed “indecent” and “sexual in nature” and exception was taken to the image of the fish, a symbol of importance to the Christian faith.
When Maverick wore the t-shirt on the same day last year, he was told to turn it inside out or face disciplinary action. A request to wear it this year was similarly rejected.
Lambda Legal, who filed suit and a motion for a temporary restraining order on Tuesday, had been told by the school “the message communicated by the student’s T-shirt is sexual in nature and therefore indecent and inappropriate in a school setting.”
But in a status conference with Judge Barrett of the US District Court of the Southern District of Ohio, the Wayne Local School District said yesterday Maverick would be allowed to wear the t-shirt to school on the Day of Silence this month.
“We’re glad that Maverick is able to wear his shirt on April 20th,” said Christopher Clark, Senior Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal. “However, a student’s First Amendment rights are not restricted to one day of the year – we will continue to fight until Maverick is allowed to express who he is on any day he chooses.”
The law suit alleges that any ban on the shirt violates Maverick’s First Amendment rights to freedom of speech.
The National Day of Silence on April 20 is an annual event sponsored by the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).