Oregon High School Student Suspended For Wearing Pro-Trump T-Shirt

Addison Barnes, 18, is  suing his school, Liberty High School in Hillsboro, for violating his free speech rights under the First Amendment.  Barnes had simply worn a t-shirt reading “Donald J. Trump Construction Co. . . .The wall just got 10 feet taller.” He was suspended for refusing to cover up the message.  It is clearly a political statement that some would object to. However, high school students are encouraged to become involved in the political system and nothing on the shirt is profane or racist or vulgar. If this t-shirt is offensive and barred, wouldn’t any political or religious or social cause be equally subject to such action?  The question answers itself and the implications are troubling.

Notably, Barnes wore the t-shirt to his People and Politics class for a discussion on immigration that day. He was told that at least one student and one teacher had been offended by his t-shirt.

Initially, he agreed to put something over the message but then decided to stand his ground and removed the covering.  He was then sent home.

The school later rescinded the suspension, but still said that Barnes would be barred from wearing the t-shirt again to school.  That would seem content-based discrimination on speech by the school.  I fail to understand why students cannot wear t-shirts expressing their views in a free and open forum so long as the t-shirts do not include racist or sexist or hateful language. This t-shirt expresses a widely held political viewpoint.  Rather than allow high school students to defend their own views as part of learning about being full citizens in our society, the school is teaching censorship and speech controls.

Here is the lawsuit: Barnes complaint


135 thoughts on “Oregon High School Student Suspended For Wearing Pro-Trump T-Shirt”

  1. The school acted unlawfully. The kid wins the lawsuit. The taxpayers pick up the tab for the kid’s attorney’s fees. End of discussion.

  2. What all the learned “legal scholars” here are missing is that the First Amendment rights of school children while at school are not automatically coextensive with those of adults in other settings. While I’m not going to delve any deeper than that for free, I thought it appropriate to throw a wrench into the wackjob tomfoolery prevalent here which if believed, would only make people “stupider.”

    1. Marky Mark Mark – I thought the only work you were getting was the bones the Fed court was throwing you when they couldn’t find a public defender? You mean someone, besides the Federal government actually pays you to advise them? That is scary.

  3. I doubt there are more than just a few African Americans in Hillsboro. Its a high tech area.

    1. David Benson owes me a citation from the OED. No one cares what you think until you get me my citation. Hours are limited at the school library today.

      1. Better shelter in the basement from the quarkon shower, Paul C Schulte!

        1. David Benson owes me a citation from the OED. Oh ye who pay little attention, I have no basement! There are very few basements in the Phoenix area, even fewer in the suburbs.

            1. <David Benson still owes me a citation from the OED. There isn’t room with the swimming pool.

                1. David Benson owes me a citation from the OED. Golly gee, now you are just getting mean. I do not wish death on you, how would I get my citation?

  4. In case you had and doubts about what makes Amanda Ryan Fear Ed D get up in the morning, here are some tidbits from her Linkedin profile.

    Hillsboro High School
    August 2006 – July 2010 (4 years)

    Responsible for planning, directing, and evaluating student activities and events;
    Management of all student council events and initiatives;
    Administration of Associated Student Body funds and accounts;
    Member of Hillsboro School District Diversity Committee, Hillsboro High School Equity Team, Hillsboro High School Site Council, and Hillsboro High School PBIS committee;
    Curriculum development and teaching of beginning and advanced leadership courses;
    Advisor, Student Unity Team and Latino Advisory Council

    Hillsboro School District
    July 2010 – July 2011 (1 year 1 month)

    Administrator in large comprehensive public high school;
    Conducted classroom visits and performed coaching for instructional improvement;
    Responsible for monitoring student attendance records and implementing interventions;
    Oversight of advisory program for college and career readiness;
    Created and delivered professional development;
    Led equity team to narrow achievement gaps by increasing achievement for all students.

    Hillsboro High School
    August 2004 – July 2014 (10 years)

    Curriculum development and teaching of high school level art classes, advisor to Latino Youth Advisory Committee, member of CCSS implementation team, leader of school equity team, member of leadership team.

    Hillsboro School District
    August 2014 – Present (3 years 10 months)Liberty High School

    • Conduct all activities with a lens of equity and student achievement;
    • Demonstrate a leadership style to include regular classroom visits and emphasis on personal involvement in instructional programs;
    • Assist in the identification of student and program needs and in the development
    of goals and objectives, implementation and evaluation of programs;
    • Understand and promote sound principles of instruction;
    • Identify building goals related to instructional improvement;
    • Plan and implement building in-service activities;
    • Supervise staff and provide support which encourages staff growth,
    development and performance;
    • Evaluate personnel assigned to the building;
    • Create partnerships with parents and community members;
    • Practice effective two-way communication with staff, students, parents and the
    • Communicate District and school goals to staff and public;
    • Maintain a positive relationship with parents and students;
    • Cultivate and model a respectful working and learning environment;
    • Oversee Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Perkins Programs; Science, Special Education, and Elective departments.

    The notes in bold are tells. (1) she considers herself the tribune of the hispanic students at the schools where she works and (2) she’s as addled as anyone by what Michele Ker has identified as the obsession of the teachers’ colleges in our time: THE GAP. THE GAP is of scant interest to any authentic pedagogue. THE GAP is of interest to aspirant social workers (and not social workers concerned with actual social problems, either). (One might also note she was working as a studio art teacher without demonstrable background in studio art).

    1. I wouldn’t doubt it, but this woman Amanda Ryan Fear isn’t into blacks. It’s the ‘plight’ of ‘Latino’ youth which gets her juices flowing.

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