OH Students Forced to Remove LGBTQ Friendly Shirts
Ohio high school students faced disciplinary action early this week for wearing t-shirts that featured messages supporting LGBTQ equality.
Last week, while celebrating "twin day" at Celina High School, two students came dressed in "Lesbian 1" and "Lesbian 2" T-shirts, but were forced to remove them. In solidarity, Tuesday, twenty additional students came to school wearing t-shirts of their own creation with the slogans "I Support [Rainbow] Express Yourself" and "Straight but Supportive". These students were also forced to remove their shirts and faced threat of detention or suspension.
According to Think Progress, in a comment, Superintendent Jesse Steiner gave this explanation for the action: "The only reason they would be told that they couldn't wear something is if it is a disruption of the educational process, or if it's not allowed in the handbook. And there's a line in our handbook about drawing undue attention to yourself."
Drew Dennis, litigation coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union Ohio, said, "It sounds like the school is trying to silence the students who are expressing an unpopular viewpoint on the basis that there will be individuals who disagree with that message."
The school has a history of tolerating other politically minded t-shirts, like "Students for Life" and even hosted a Romney campaign rally at the school this past week.
Both the students and the school are seeking legal advice. The students have a strong case due to the precedent set by the historic 1969 Supreme Court Case Tinker v. Des Moines. In this case, the court found that students are entitled free speech as long as it does not disrupt the educational operation of the school.
Media Resources: Think Progress 10/31/12; US News 10/31/12; 770 KKOB News Radio 10/30/12