‘I have my First Amendment, and it’s not right what they’re doing….’
(Katie J. Read, Liberty Headlines) A T-shirt depicting support for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall sparked a legal battle Friday when an Oregon student sued his high school to defend his First Amendment rights.
Eighteen-year-old Addison Barnes wore a shirt emblazoned with “Donald J Trump Border Wall Construction Co” to school, on the day his class was scheduled to debate about border security.
Minutes into the discussion, Liberty High School’s Assistant Principal Amanda Ryan-Fear asked Barnes to step out of the classroom and demanded he change out of his shirt because his clothes offended some of the school’s students and teachers.
Barnes put on a jacket to comply, but he said he soon decided that he didn’t need to cover up an expression of his right to free speech.
“I decided, ‘You know, this isn’t right,’” Barnes told local television station KPTV. “I have my First Amendment, and it’s not right what they’re doing.”
According to the lawsuit, Ryan-Fear told Barnes she would suspend him for “defiance” if he ignored her demands any longer.
Barnes made his choice and went home for the rest of the school day.
The school administration treated his absence as a suspension.
The school’s aggression toward Barnes did not end there.
Barnes appeared in another student’s documentary film investigating free speech in schools and he chose to wear his border wall T-shirt.
He only wore the shirt during the filming, the lawsuit specified, and took it off when cameras stopped rolling.
But when the student submitted the film to her teachers, they had her blur the text on Barnes’s shirt before they uploaded the video to the school’s online learning platform.
The school put forth great effort to ensure no one against Trump’s promised method of border security would take offense at Barnes’s shirt.
But when a teacher put up a sign in her classroom that said “Sanctuary City, Welcome Home,” the school did not remove the sign.
“The unconstitutionality of the school’s actions is strongly confirmed by the fact that the school allows — even encourages and endorses — expression of different viewpoints on the subjects of immigration and national security,” the lawsuit said.