HOOVER, Ala. — In a follow-up to a story we reported earlier this week, an Alabama high school has reversed its decision and will allow a student to wear a t-shirt that expresses the message, “gay? fine by me.”
Principal Don Hulin of Hoover High School issued a statement, saying the T-shirt in question “has not caused a substantial disruption and the student will be allowed to wear it.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on Wednesday sent a warning letter to the school and the city’s board of education demanding that it stop censoring students or face a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of 15-year-old Sara Couvillon, who was told she could not wear the shirt.
The SPLC told the school it had violated Couvillon’s constitutional rights guaranteed under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
“Our dress code at Hoover High School is designed to facilitate the learning environment that is so important to our school. The T-shirt at issue has not caused a substantial disruption and the student will be allowed to wear it,” the school’s statement said. “Our focus has been and will be on the learning environment at Hoover High School.”
“We are incredibly happy that the officials at Hoover High School acted so quickly to restore the rights of this brave student,” said Sam Wolfe, staff attorney for the SPLC. “However, while the outcome is a good one, it is unfortunate that this fundamental right was denied in the first place.”
Couvillon said, “I’m very relieved and I feel like this is a major victory for the LGBT community in Alabama. This was not just about me – it was about encouraging people to be brave in standing up for themselves and standing up for their rights.”