Back in January, Liberty High School senior Addison Barnes, 18, decided to wear the shirt to his People and Politics class knowing immigration would be a topic covered that day.
The shirt featured a construction worker in front of a wall and text reading, “Donald J. Trump Construction Co.” It also contained the famous Trump catchphrase, “The wall just got 10 feet taller.”
The vice principal at the school in Hillsboro pulled him out of class and asked him to cover up the shirt, while another teacher was reportedly offended.
Barnes at first abided by the school official’s wishes, but later decided to stand up for his First Amendment right to freedom of expression.
“I decided, you know this isn’t right,” Barnes told Fox affiliate KPTV. “I have my First Amendment, and it’s not right what they’re doing.”
After again displaying the shirt, a security officer was sent to escort Barnes from class, requesting he remove the shirt or go home – so he went home.
The school marked Barnes’ absence as a half-day suspension, however it was rescinded and Barnes was ordered not to wear the shirt again.
Speaking to the school administrators, Barnes and his father were told students and faculty who had first claimed they were “offended” by the shirt actually felt “threatened” by it.
“Defendants’ actions censoring Barnes’ political speech violate his First Amendment rights,” states the lawsuit filed last Friday.
“The high school, ironically named Liberty High School, had violated his free speech rights,” the lawyer representing Barnes, Mike McLane, said.
Barnes is hopeful his lawsuit will bring about a wider discussion about First Amendment rights in the school district.