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OR student wins $25,000 lawsuit against school over pro-Trump border wall shirt

Border wall T-shirt (Shirt2Play/Product Shot)
July 26, 2018

An Oregon high school student who filed a lawsuit earlier this year against his school district after being told he couldn’t wear a pro-Donald Trump border wall T-shirt will receive a written apology and $25,000 in a settlement.

On Tuesday, Addison Barnes’ lawyers announced they had reached a settlement with the district, Fox News reported this week.

The Liberty High School senior refused to cover up his “Donald J. Trump Border Wall Construction Co.” shirt that he wore for his People and Politics class on a day when immigration would be discussed.

The shirt features a 2016 Trump quote: “The wall just got 10 feet taller.”

The school said that Barnes was creating a “hostile learning environment” by wearing the shirt in class, but Barnes argued that the teacher’s room boasts a sign that says: “Sanctuary City, Welcome Home.”

Barnes filed suit against the Hillsboro School District and Principal Greg Timmons, claiming his First Amendment rights had been violated.

The attorney for the school district, Peter Mersereau, said that the school has “a population that is one-third Hispanic,” which was why the school district had an issue with Barnes’ shirt.

Barnes said that he brought the case to court “to stand up for myself and other students who might be afraid to express their right-of-center views.”

Timmons released a statement after the settlement:

“As an educational institution, Hillsboro School District and each of our schools supports, encourages, and celebrates free speech and reasoned debate. 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.”