Next May, a student will head to trial against Overton County Board of Education for banning her Biblical shirt while allowing LGBTQ-themed attire and paraphernalia. Court documents show that the board attempted to mediate with the family on Monday. The record indicates that mediation wouldn’t resolve the issue.
“Written discovery has been exchanged that is sufficient to evaluate and discuss settlement substantively,” stated the joint report. “At this stage it does not appear that mediation will successfully resolve this case. However, depositions are scheduled which could help lead to settlement.”
P. et al v. Overton County Board of Education began back in October. As The Tennessee Star reported, the student filed her lawsuit against the board once her school, Livingston Academy, claimed she’d violated dress code policy for wearing a shirt with “sexually connotative” and “offensive messages.” The student’s shirt read, “HOMOSEXUALITY IS A SIN [-] 1 Corinthians 6:9-10[.]”
School officials defended that the word “homosexuality” had the word “sex” within it, thereby making it sexually connotative. The Bible verse cited was a list of those sinners who won’t inherit God’s kingdom, including homosexuals. Her father, Richard Penkoski, posted a video detailing the incident on TikTok. The social media giant promptly removed the video, citing that it went against their policies by representing “hate speech.”
The lawsuit alleged that at the time of the incident, the teacher who’d issued the complaint had a pride flag displayed in his classroom. It also alleged that other students had been allowed to wear shirts bearing guns, pride flags, and references to virginity without any repercussion.
The trial date is scheduled for May 10, 2022. Chief Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr. is slated to preside over the case.
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