In January of this year a student in Hillsboro, Oregon wore a pro-Trump t-shirt to Liberty High School. The student, Addison Barnes, wore the pro-border wall t-shirt to his “People and Politics” class which was going to discuss immigration issues.
That did not go over well with faculty. He was asked to remove the shirt, did not, and eventually left school.
As USA Today reported on May 25th:
“I thought to myself, ‘You know this isn’t right, this is my First Amendment right to be able to wear this shirt,'” Barnes told KGW-TV, Portland, Ore. “So I took off the jacket and the assistant principal had seen that and sent for a security guard to escort me out of class.”
Someone, either faculty or security, asked Addison to either remove the shirt or leave the school. He chose to leave, and the departure was marked as a suspension.
More from USA Today:
“If somebody else disagrees with me politically, I think they should be able to express their viewpoints just as I should be able to express my viewpoints in school,” Barnes told KPTV.
Liberty High School’s Parent-Student Handbook doesn’t address political clothing, KPTV reported. But Hillsboro School District’s Standards of Student Conduct says, “Clothing decorated or marked with illustrations, words, or phrases that are disruptive or potentially disruptive, and/or that promote superiority of one group over another is not permitted.”
“He was told he offended them but that’s a far cry from being disruptive and it is certainly a far cry from violating school policy, let alone what is clearly First Amendment free speech law,” said Barnes’ attorney Mike McLane.”
Even the ACLU of Oregon sided with Barnes.
Barnes decided to sue. And he won a temporary victory.
This past Tuesday U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman (appointed by George W. Bush) issued a temporary restraining order which means the school cannot enforce its decision to ban Barnes from wearing the t-shirt.
As Oregon Live reports:
“U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman found the Hillsboro School District could not justify its censorship. The judge said he balanced constitutionally protected speech with the orderly running of a school.
The school district is entitled to be concerned about the response of other students to the T-shirt, the judge said. But the “thin” court record so far offers little support for the district’s argument that the shirt could “substantially disrupt” the school, he said.
“There’s not enough to go on here to show that sort of legitimate concern justifying censorship of this core political speech,” Mosman ruled.”
District officials offered the defense that a third of their student population is Hispanic and therefore are somehow “insecure.” Don’t forget that Oregon is a sanctuary state.
From the Oregon Live report:
“School officials defended their actions, saying the shirt would contribute to a “hostile learning environment” and would make students feel insecure in school, noting that about 33 percent of the high school’s students are of Hispanic descent. They also said the school has been the site of recent student walkouts and sit-ins to protest Trump’s immigration policies.
The district also described increased racial tensions arising from racially charged language around immigration, school officials said.
“This particular school district has a population that is one-third Hispanic. This is not Lake Oswego. This is not West Linn,” attorney Peter Mersereau argued for the Hillsboro School District.”
Read the whole Oregon Live story and details about the t-shirt ordeal here.
Score one small victory against “The Resistance.”
- Middle school student in Nevada sues school district after being punished for wearing pro-2A t-shirt
- High school teacher, who forced students to turn their MAGA T-shirts inside out, resigns
- Staff members taunt student in pro-Trump hat at South Portland High in Maine