A student attending an Oregon high school was told he could not wear a t-shirt to class with the words “Border Wall Construction Co.” on it because it was “anti-illegal immigration,” but a federal judge just slapped that down with a vengeance.
Perhaps there’s still some folks in the judicial system who still believe in the Bill of Rights and the freedom of speech after all?
Addison Barnes is a student at Liberty High — ironic name for a school that just attempted to silence a kid’s First Amendment rights, isn’t it? — was suspended for wearing the shirt back in January of this year. The school said it “created a hostile learning environment.”
Ironically, Barnes wore the tee on a day when his “People and Politics” class was discussing immigration. An assistant principal informed him he’d have to cover the shirt, noting that “at least one other student” and a teacher said it had offended them.
Barnes complied at first, but then changed his mind because “what he was asked to do wasn’t right.” Later that period, the assistant principal had a school resource officer remove Barnes from the class, and told him he could face a 10-day suspension for “defiance.”
Barnes ended up suing the school, the district, and the Liberty principal.
Liberty HS officials argued in court that Barnes’ shirt “would make students feel insecure in school,” noting its 33-percent Hispanic demographic. They also indicated Liberty had been the site “of recent student walkouts and sit-ins to protest Trump’s immigration policies.”
Judge Michael Mosman responded, “So First Amendment protections vary from high school to high school?”
Mosman continued to literally lay down the law, stating that while the school has the right to be concerned about how other students may respond to the shirt, the “thin” court record offered very little support that this particular shirt would cause any substantial disruption during school hours.
“There’s not enough to go on here to show that sort of legitimate concern justifying censorship of this core political speech,” Mosman said.
Barnes was asked by the media if he planned on wearing the shirt again before he graduates. Barnes said, “Yeah, that was the idea.”
This is excellent news, both for Barnes and other American students who want to express their political ideas without the fear of school interference. After all, since schools are funded and overseen by the federal government, they technically are bound to uphold the Constitution and not infringe on a student’s freedom of speech.
Let’s hope Barnes’ boldness and willingness to stand up for what he believes in rubs off on other students across America.
Source: The College Fix
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