[author: Amy Dickerson]
Last month, a federal district judge in Ohio approved an agreement between a student and a school district that permits the student to wear a t-shirt to his high school that says “Jesus is Not a Homophobe.” Last year, the student wore the t-shirt to school on the 2011 National Day of Silence, a day during which students show support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered students. The principal of the school barred him from wearing the shirt, allegedly telling the student that the shirt was disruptive and improperly promoted a religious message. The principal also threatened to suspend the student if he continued to wear the shirt on other days during the school year. The school district reportedly also asserted that the t-shirt was “sexual in nature and therefore indecent and inappropriate in a school setting.”
The student and his parents filed a lawsuit against the school district, and on May 21, 2012, the student, his parents, and the school district entered into an agreed judgment in favor of the student. In the judgment, the court ruled that the student is the prevailing party and that the student “is expressly permitted to wear the ‘Jesus is not a Homophobe’ T-shirt to school when he chooses.” The judgment also awards a total of $20,000 in damages, costs, and attorney’s fees to the student’s family and attorneys.