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First Amendment

School District Ordered to Pay Student $20K in Lawsuit Over ‘Jesus Is Not a Homophobe’ T-Shirt

Posted May 22, 2012 1:30 PM CDT
By Mark Hansen

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Corrected: A federal judge on Monday ordered an Ohio school district to pay $20,000 in damages and court costs to a high school student who was prevented from wearing a "Jesus Is Not a Homophobe" T-shirt in school.

The judgment equals the amount of a settlement offer made to 16-year-old Maverick Couch of Waynesville earlier this month by the Wayne Local Schools, the Dayton Daily News reports.

Couch had sued the district last month, claiming his First Amendment rights had been violated when the school principal twice prevented him from wearing the T-shirt in school.

Couch was first stopped from wearing the T-shirt in April 2011 in observance of a "Day of Silence," a worldwide event held each year to raise awareness of bullying of LGBT students in school. He was allowed to wear the shirt to this year's event, although members of a local church protested.

Couch couldn't be reached Monday for comment.

School Superintendent Patrick Dubbs said he was glad the case was over.

Updated at 2:09 p.m. to correct T-shirt message in headline.

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