NEW YORK - April 4, 2012 - The following is a statement from GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard about the latest development surrounding openly gay student Maverick Couch at Waynesville High School in Waynesville, Ohio who challenged his school with a federal lawsuit in response to potential disciplinary action for wearing a T-shirt in support of GLSEN's upcoming Day of Silence on April 20, 2012.
To learn more about Maverick and the lawsuit, read Ohio Gay Student Pursues Legal Action Against High School to Wear T-shirt in Support of GLSEN's Day of Silence.
The Wayne Local School District decided to allow Maverick to wear his T-shirt with the slogan "Jesus Is Not a Homophobe" only on GLSEN's Day of Silence. The temporary concession comes after Lambda Legal filed suit and a motion for a temporary restraining order on Tuesday on behalf of Maverick.
"We are encouraged by the recent decision of the Wayne Local School District to allow openly gay student Maverick Couch to wear his T-shirt in support of GLSEN's National Day of Silence on April 20, 2012. But this student-led day of action is designed to raise long-term awareness and support for schools to take concrete steps toward ensuring that all students enjoy a safe and respectful school environment. The values behind the Day of Silence should be recognized and acted upon year-round.
"Maverick and his family have shown incredible courage in standing up for what they believe in. We hope officials at Wayne Local School District develop similar understanding and commitment to making sure that all students deserve to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
"GLSEN and its Greater Cincinnati and Dayton chapters will continue to extend our support to Maverick and his family as they continue to see this lawsuit through under the direction of our friends at Lambda Legal. We encourage any other students experiencing similar resistance to the Day of Silence to report it on our website at www.dayofsilence.org."
To learn more about students' legal rights to organize and/or participate in the Day of Silence, please read National Day of Silence: The Freedom to Speak (Or Not) authored by Lambda Legal.
Learn more about the lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal: Couch v. Wayne Local School District.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.