- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Addison Barnes, the young man who was suspended during his senior year of high school for wearing a “Trump Wall” shirt to school, will receive $25,000 in legal fees and an apology from his old principal.

Lawyers for the 18-year-old Trump supporter announced this week that Hillsboro School District in Oregon settled a lawsuit over First Amendment rights. Mr. Barnes was accused of creating a “hostile learning environment” in January for wearing his shirt to Liberty High School, despite the fact that his teacher’s room included a sign that read: “Sanctuary City, Welcome Home.”

U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman issued a temporary restraining order in late May, which allowed the student to wear his shirt for the last few days of the school year.

“I brought this case to stand up for myself and other students who might be afraid to express their right-of-center views,” Mr. Barnes said in a statement after the settlement was reached. “Everyone knows that if a student wears an anti-Trump shirt to school, the teachers won’t think twice about it. But when I wore a pro-Trump shirt, I got suspended. That’s not right.”

“We brought the case to police the thought police,” attorney Brad Benbrook added, The Oregonian reported Tuesday.

The school district said it decided to settle with Mr. Barnes as a means of avoiding “the cost and disruption of litigation.”

“Hillsboro School District and each of our schools supports, encourages, and celebrates free speech and reasoned debate,” the district said in a statement, the newspaper reported. “We also have a responsibility to ensure that each of our students feels welcome and safe in our schools so they can effectively learn. This was an instance where we were challenged to do both simultaneously and the decision landed on the side of ensuring student safety. Moving forward, we will continue to use professional discretion to meet both objectives and will actively seek ways to turn sensitive situations into learning opportunities.”


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