According to a Dayton Daily News report in The Chicago Tribune, Wayne Local Schools (WLS) has proposed a settlement to Maverick Couch in response to his lawsuit for prohibiting him from wearing a “Jesus is Not a Homophobe” T-shirt. The proposed settlement includes paying the student $20,000, permitting Couch to wear the shirt “as he pleases,” and declaring him “the prevailing party.”
Christopher Clark, of Lambda Legal, who filed the suit on behalf of Couch, declined to comment on the proposed settlement, but said, “We will be discussing it with our client and making a decision.” The suit alleges Couch’s First Amendment rights were violated when the school principal twice prevented him from wearing the T-shirt displaying the message, and threatened disciplinary action if it was worn again. Shortly after the suit was filed, WLS agreed to allow Couch to wear the shirt at school in observance of a “Day of Silence,” a worldwide event held to raise awareness of bullying of LGBT students at school.
While emphasizing support for the First Amendment and diversity, Superintendent Patrick Dubbs said the offer was made in part out of concern that litigating the case would cost the district more than $100,000. “We support what our principal did,” he said, adding school officials need to balance individual rights with ensuring education of all students.
Source: The Chicago Tribune, 5/7/12, By Lawrence Budd (Dayton Daily News)
[Editor's Note: In April 2012, Legal Clips summarized an article in Cincinnati.com, reporting that school officials had agreed to lift the school’s ban for one day to allow Couch to wear his “Jesus Is Not A Homophobe” t-shirt for the "Day of Silence".]