An Oregon high school student is fighting back against his school for violating his First Amendment rights by telling him to cover up his pro-Trump t-shirt.
Addison Barnes has filed a lawsuit against Liberty High School, its principal, and the school district after being suspended for wearing the shirt endorsing President Donald Trump’s border-wall policy, KOIN 6 News reported.
Barnes wore the shirt, printed with the words “Donald J. Trump Border Wall Construction Co.,” and included “The Wall Just Got 10 Feet Taller” in quotes.
According to KOIN:
Barnes wore the t-shirt to his “People and Politics” class earlier this semester, when the class was scheduled to discuss immigration. The lawsuit says Liberty High School assistant principal Amanda Ryan-Fear took Barnes out of class and told him to cover up the shirt because it was offensive to a teacher and at least one other student.
Barnes initially covered up the shirt and returned to class, the suit says, but then decided that he was protected under the First Amendment and uncovered the t-shirt. Ryan-Fear sent a security guard to the classroom to remove Barnes and take him to her office, where she threatened him with a suspension for “defiance.” Barnes was given two options – cover up or go home – and he chose to leave the school, which was treated as a suspension.
“She gave me the option to cover the shirt or get sent home,” Barnes recalled to KGW8-TV.
“I thought to myself, ‘You know this isn’t right, this is my First Amendment right to be able to wear this shirt,’ ” Barnes said. “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.”
Oregon House minority leader Mike McLane is representing Barnes in the case and says the high school senior’s freedom of speech was violated.
“If people are offended by his shirt – that’s their right to be offended,” McLane said. “But it’s also his right to have his opinion, as well. The constitutional line isn’t who’s offended. The constitutional line is there a specific and clear disturbance being created by the expression of the student’s political speech.”
There was no disturbance caused by the student, according to his attorney, except the one caused by his removal from the classroom. McLane even noted that a teacher who hung a sign that said, “Sanctuary City, Welcome Home,” faced no consequences.
“He has a right to free speech, just like liberals have the right to free speech,” McLane said.
Barnes is graduating this year but wanted to pursue the lawsuit to ensure other conservatives have a voice on the campus, according to KOIN.
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