Elder Patriot -An Oregon court has upheld the right of Senior Addison Barnes to wear a pro-Trump T-shirt.
U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman’s ruling came after Barnes, who had been suspended for wearing a T-shirt that the school’s principle had deemed offensive, brought suit against Liberty (where’s the irony in this?) High School, Hillsboro School District, and the school’s principal Greg Timmons. Judge for yourself:
Barnes, an 18-year-old senior, noted that the school made no efforts to similarly ban viewpoints opposing his own and cited a poster that reads “Sanctuary City, Welcome Home” that one teacher has had hanging in their classroom all year.
Lawyers for the school district argued that 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. These geniuses were essentially setting as a predicate for their defense that the school had already chosen sides in a political debate and any other point of view now represented a threat to the community.
The district also warned of increased racial tensions arising from racially charged language around immigration but offered no evidence to that effect.
Attorney Peter Mersereau, arguing for the Hillsboro School District, actually claimed: “This particular school district has a population that is one-third Hispanic. This is not Lake Oswego. This is not West Linn.”
Mersereau was effectively arguing that once a community reaches a certain concentration of foreign born students their First Amendment rights are lost and they are to be governed by the laws of the country from which their parents fled. Interesting.
The judge stopped Mersereau dead, asking, “So First Amendment protections vary from high school to high school?”
Ultimately, Judge Mosman dismissed the school’s defense that Barnes’ shirt might offend some of the largely immigrant school population saying that while the school district is entitled to be concerned about the response of other students to the T-shirt, the “thin” court record so far offers little support for the district’s argument that the shirt could “substantially disrupt” the school.
Mosman found that:
“There’s not enough to go on here to show that sort of legitimate concern justifying censorship of this core political speech.”
Score one for the Constitution.