A pro-Trump student in Oregon will be able to wear his “Border Wall Construction Co” for the rest of the year, thanks to a federal judge’s temporary restraining order.
U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman sided with 18-year-old Addison Barnes this week in a lawsuit filed against Hillsboro School District. The young man sought legal recourse on First Amendment grounds after Liberty High School banned his outfit.
Mr. Barnes was accused of creating a “hostile learning environment” in January despite the fact that his teacher’s room included a sign that read: “Sanctuary City, Welcome Home.”
“There’s not enough to go on here to show that sort of legitimate concern justifying censorship of this core political speech,” Judge Mosman ruled, The Oregonian reported Tuesday.
The student was originally told to cover up his shirt by an assistant principal. He complied for a short time but received another warning after taking off his jacket later in the day.
“It seems particularly unfair to me that my speech is censored when the school is open to competing political views,” Mr. Barnes wrote in a statement given to the court.
The young man left school after his second run-in with the school officials, which was recorded as a suspension.
Attorney Peter Mersereau tried to persuade the judge that “a population that is one-third Hispanic” warranted the district’s position.
“So First Amendment protections vary from high school to high school?” the judge asked. “The T-shirt is core protected speech, and walking down the streets of Hillsboro, no state official — petty or grand — would be able to do much about that T-shirt legitimately under the Constitution.”
Bradley Benbrook, one of the student’s lawyers, said the shirt would likely be worn again before the school year ends, Oregonian reported.
The last day of class for Liberty High School seniors is June 6.