We're taking Donald Trump to court over his transgender military ban.Fund our fight!

Justice for Maverick! Student Wins Right to Wear Shirt

Browse By

Blog Search

Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LGBT people and people living with HIV.
May 21, 2012

Lambda Legal client Maverick Couch can now wear this T-shirt (pictured) to school any day he chooses. The school district and principal agreed today to have a judgment entered against them.

Couch, a high school junior in Waynesville, Ohio, wore a "Jesus Is Not a Homophobe" shirt to school to mark GLSEN's National Day of Silence last year. Principal Randy Gebhardt told him to turn the T-shirt inside out. Maverick complied. Last fall, when he asked the principal for permission to wear the shirt again, Gebhardt threatened him with suspension.

Lambda Legal sent Gebhardt a letter in January outlining the legal precedent supporting Maverick’s right to wear the shirt. The school district responded that “the message communicated by the student’s T-shirt is sexual in nature and therefore indecent and inappropriate in a school setting.” Lambda Legal sued the school district on Maverick’s behalf on April 3. The next day, the school conceded that Couch could wear the shirt—but only on one day: the Day of Silence.

Couch says:

I just wanted to wear my shirt. The shirt is a statement of pride, and I hope other students like me know that they can be proud, too.

Lambda Legal Senior Staff Attorney Christopher Clark says:

We’re very happy for Maverick and all LGBT students in Ohio. If school officials had any doubt before, it’s clear now: First Amendment rights apply to all students on every day of the year, and efforts to silence LGBT youth will not go unchallenged.

Today's judgment also awarded $20,000 for damages, costs and attorneys' fees.

Read the order.

Read more about the case.

Learn more about students' rights in schools.