Students at an Ohio high school were threatened with suspensions for refusing to remove shirts that contained messages supportive of LGBT individuals, according to HyperVocal.
About twenty students wore the shirts to Celina High School after two other students were told to remove shirts that read “Lesbian 1” and “Lesbian 2.” Celina High School Superintendent Jesse Steiner told U.S. News that the students were told to remove the shirts or face disciplinary action because the school has a policy against disruptive attire.
“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,” Steiner explained. “And there’s a line in our handbook about drawing undue attention to yourself.”
But the students said their LGBT-supportive shirts were no different than the pro-life shirts they have seen other students wear to school without incident.
“This is what’s called a ‘heckler’s veto,'” Drew Dennis of ACLU Ohio told U.S. News. “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.”
Earlier this year, an openly gay student at Waynesville High School in Ohio successfully sued the school after he was prohibited from wearing a shirt that said “Jesus Is Not a Homophobe.” The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio held that the school violated the student’s First Amendment rights.
Last year, a school in Louisiana was sued by the ACLU after it disciplined a student for wearing shirt in support of LGBT rights. The ACLU also successfully sued a school in Illinois for disciplining students who wore shirts that criticized gay people.