Schools shouldn’t punish self-expression

Sara Labor

Recently, an Ohio student filed a law suit against his high school last Tuesday because they threatened to suspend him for wearing a “Jesus is not a homophobe” T-shirt. The student, Maverick Couch, wore the T-shirt last year during the National Day of Silence in April in order to bring attention to bullying and harassment against gay students.

He said that after being bullied himself, he wanted to encourage respect for all students no matter their sexuality. School officials asked Couch to turn his shirt inside out because it was “indecent and sexual in nature.” The school is a public school

When asked if he could wear it again, the school said no. Now Couch is suing the school because they have violated his first amendment rights.

I have to say, Couch is my new hero.

I find it disgusting that teachers and other school officials are just as close-minded as the bullies that had picked on Couch. It is not their right to tell him that he can’t wear a T-shirt to stand up for gay rights.

Not only that, but they couldn’t have come up with a better reason for him to not wear it other than being “indecent and sexual in nature?” It was just a simple white T-shirt with a rainbow colored ichthys fish and black letters that said “Jesus is not a homophobe.”

Couch even said that many students supported his t-shirt. He said only a few students gave him negative feedback. However, the principal told Couch’s mother that the t-shirt was “interrupting the learning process.”

To ask that Couch not wear the shirt because it is “indecent” shows me that these teachers are just like the bullies at Couch’s school. They are obviously afraid and close-minded. And to be bullied by someone that you should be able to look up to is the worst.

These teachers and other school officials should be setting an example. They should be standing up for freedoms, such as Couch’s freedom of speech by wearing this T-shirt, and also his freedom to love whoever he wants.

Instead, they quashed his freedom of speech, and proved that they are bullies too, instead of leaders and role models.

To address the actual message of the shirt is a bit difficult, because there are a good majority of Americans who wouldn’t agree with the message. Even just last week, there was an opinion in our very newspaper that said Santorum is completely just in his views on gay marriage because he is right. No other reason really, just that he is right.

The particular writer who wrote this article said “anyone who claimed to be a Christian yet thought that gay marriage was right would be questionable in my eyes because they do not even understand their own beliefs.” Now, this really got me fired up. I am a Christian. I support gay rights. Because, to toss a little Bible back at you, Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus never said “Love your neighbor as yourself unless he or she is gay.”

Not only that, but Jesus also said the only person who can judge someone is God. It is not in any way my job, your job, or the government’s job to judge a person based on their sexual preference, and it is certainly not anyone’s job to judge those who support gay rights. Maybe we should open up a little and learn to love everyone, including homosexuals, the way that the big guy himself told us to do.

Couch, I believe is a very brave person for standing up for his rights. I hope that his message stands out: that everyone should be a little more open-minded.

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1 Response

  1. Kimberly Weisser says:

    Amen!

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