A Hillsboro, Oregon high school student is suing his school district claiming that they violated his First Amendment rights.
Addison Barnes was suspended when he wore a t-shirt to school that the principal didn’t like. His shirt featured the words, “Border Wall Construction Company”. The 18-year old Liberty High School senior says that he was asked to cover up the t-shirt, or leave school.
But this is one smart high school senior, and Barnes was not going to go away quietly. “If someone else disagrees with me politically, I think that they should be able to express their viewpoints in my school,” he says.
Barnes intentionally wore the shirt to school that day. He says that he wanted to express his viewpoints for a class in which he was enrolled. “People and Politics” was the class, and the topic for that day was immigration.
He was sent home that day back in January when he refused to cover up or change his shirt. Barnes says he was fighting for his First Amendment rights. The assistant principal pulled him out of class because the shirt offended other students and the teacher.
Barnes then sued his school, the Hillsboro School District, and principal, Greg Timmons. He says he brought the case to “stand up for myself and other students who might be afraid to express their right-of-center views.”
The courts agreed with Barnes. The school district was ordered to issue an apology to the young man, and he was awarded a judgement of $25-thousand dollars.
The principal released a statement saying, in part, “the school district celebrates free speech and reasoned debate. Moving forward, we will continue to use professional discretion to meet both objectives.”
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