Judge issues temporary order on Liberty High School lawsuit
A federal judge has granted a temporary restraining order on the Hillsboro School District, ordering administrators at the school to allow a student to wear a pro-Donald Trump T-shirt on campus.
Liberty High School had forbidden senior Addison Barnes from wearing a T-shirt promoting the president's planned border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
"Donald J. Trump's Border Wall Construction Co.," the shirt reads. "The Wall Just Got 10 Feet Taller."
Barnes wore the shirt to class in January. He was told by administrators that students and teachers at the school found the shirt offensive. Barnes was suspended for a day after he refused to cover the shirt's text.
Barnes filed the lawsuit in federal court on May 18, saying the school should be forced to allow him to wear the shirt, saying that his freedom of expression was being violated.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman said that while the lawsuit works its way through the court system, the district should allow the student to wear the shirt.
Mosman said the student's free speech rights needed to be weighed against the Hillsboro School District's need to maintain order during the school day.
Hillsboro is one of the Portland area's most diverse cities, and about one-third of Liberty High School's student body is of Hispanic origin. Liberty has seen several student-led walkouts and sit-ins since Trump took office, in protest to the administration's policies on immigration.
Since filing the lawsuit, Barnes' lawsuit has made national headlines. Barnes was interviewed on FOX News last week.
Also backing Barnes in the suit is the American Civil Liberties Union, which released a statement saying the school district should protect the student's first amendment rights.
"The school clearly crossed the line when it required a student to remove a t-shirt that voiced support for Donald Trump's border wall or face a suspension," said Mat dos Santos, ACLU of Oregon legal director. "This shirt is mean spirited, but it isn't a "disturbance" under First Amendment case law."
"It is disappointing that Liberty High School decided to censor the student instead of inviting the student body to discuss immigration, the freedom of speech, and the impacts of xenophobic rhetoric," dos Santos continued. "Schools have a responsibility to teach our youth how to engage in thoughtful conversations about difficult and potentially offensive subject matters. Censorship doesn't work and often just elevates the subject the government is trying to silence."