BREAKING NEWS : Silver Alert issued for Trent D. Thomas of Fort Wayne Full Story

Student asked to cover Trump shirt sues school district

A high school student in Hillsboro is suing the school district after he says his First Amendment rights were violate...

Posted: May 22, 2018 2:46 PM
Updated: May 22, 2018 2:46 PM

A high school student in Hillsboro is suing the school district after he says his First Amendment rights were violated.

FOX 12 spoke with 18-year-old Liberty High School senior, Addison Barnes, who says he was asked to cover up a President Donald Trump shirt he was wearing or, instead, leave school.

"If somebody else disagrees with me politically, I think they should be able to express their viewpoints just as I should be able to express my viewpoints in school," he said.

Barnes says he knew what he was doing when he wore a controversial shirt to his "People and Politics" class, in which the topic that day was immigration.

He was sent home that day, on Jan. 19, when he refused to cover it up, and tells FOX 12 he's sticking up for his First Amendment rights.

The shirt included the words "Donald J Trump Border Wall Construction Co." and a quote from the president: "The wall just got 10 feet taller."

Barnes says the assistant principal pulled him out of class because his shirt offended students and a teacher.

"She gave me the option; either I cover the shirt up or I get sent home," he said.

Barnes says he covered it up at first.

"And then a few minutes later I decided, you know this isn't right," he said. "I have my First Amendment and it's not right what they're doing."

Barnes says he left school instead - and the school deemed his absence a half-day suspension, according to court documents, which they later rescinded.

According to the lawsuit, Barnes believes the shirt is protected under the First Amendment, his right to free speech.

In Liberty High School's Parent-Student Handbook, it makes no mention of banned political clothing.

However, in Hillsboro School District's Standards of Student Conduct it outlines a more defined set of guidelines: "Clothing decorated or marked with illustrations, words, or phrases that are disruptive or potentially disruptive, and/or that promote superiority of one group over another is not permitted."

Barnes says he was aware of the district dress code.

"It does kind of promote supremacy, but it's not flat out a Ku Klux Klan shirt or anything. This is just words on a shirt," said Liberty High School student Milica Kincaid.

The documents show Barnes' shirt did not substantially disrupt the classroom.

The lawsuit was filed in Oregon's federal court Friday and claims Liberty is suppressing political free speech.

Barnes says he hopes this lawsuit brings about a broader understanding of free speech at his school. He is suing for damages, as well as the right to wear his shirt at school.

FOX 12 reached out to the Hillsboro School District and the communications officer, Beth Graser, said they are still reviewing the lawsuit and are currently declining to comment.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36578

Reported Deaths: 2258
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion10188604
Lake3876207
Allen181071
Cass15919
Elkhart158528
St. Joseph135838
Hendricks120478
Hamilton119194
Johnson1125113
Madison60061
Porter56233
Clark53942
Bartholomew53139
LaPorte44824
Howard44236
Tippecanoe4344
Jackson4012
Delaware39741
Shelby39722
Hancock35427
Boone32436
Floyd31941
Vanderburgh2913
Morgan28626
Noble27821
Montgomery24917
Clinton2471
White2399
Decatur23132
Grant22923
Dubois2113
Kosciusko2052
Harrison19622
Marshall1872
Henry18512
Vigo1828
Greene17226
Dearborn17122
Monroe17113
Lawrence17124
Warrick16729
Miami1461
Putnam1427
Jennings1324
Orange13122
LaGrange1282
Scott1263
Franklin1168
Ripley1086
Daviess10416
Carroll952
Wayne906
Steuben902
Wabash812
Newton8010
Fayette797
Jasper741
Jay580
Clay533
Randolph523
Rush513
Fulton511
Washington501
Pulaski500
Jefferson491
Whitley453
DeKalb451
Starke423
Perry390
Huntington382
Sullivan371
Wells350
Owen341
Brown331
Benton320
Knox310
Blackford272
Tipton261
Crawford250
Adams231
Switzerland220
Spencer221
Fountain222
Gibson202
Parke180
Posey160
Martin140
Warren131
Ohio130
Vermillion100
Union100
Pike60
Unassigned0180

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 37758

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin6323295
Cuyahoga4789265
Hamilton2811171
Marion268832
Lucas2329263
Pickaway209938
Summit1529181
Mahoning1486191
Butler97532
Columbiana89453
Stark803102
Montgomery73417
Lorain73061
Trumbull60052
Belmont44915
Warren40721
Medina37624
Tuscarawas3714
Ashtabula36938
Miami36730
Delaware36014
Portage33557
Lake32512
Clark3237
Fairfield3188
Wood30649
Geauga30334
Wayne29651
Licking27110
Mercer2278
Richland2224
Allen22133
Clermont2195
Darke19023
Erie18416
Madison1647
Washington11819
Crawford1184
Morrow1081
Ottawa10717
Greene1065
Putnam9514
Sandusky9112
Monroe8015
Auglaize773
Hardin730
Ross732
Hocking705
Jefferson672
Huron611
Williams581
Holmes573
Union561
Muskingum561
Hancock531
Coshocton480
Wyandot482
Clinton471
Shelby473
Fulton450
Logan430
Fayette410
Preble391
Guernsey382
Carroll353
Defiance342
Brown311
Lawrence301
Highland291
Champaign281
Seneca262
Knox251
Ashland230
Vinton212
Perry191
Athens181
Scioto180
Henry170
Jackson150
Paulding140
Adams111
Harrison100
Pike90
Gallia81
Van Wert70
Meigs60
Noble60
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 73°
Huntington
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 79°
Van Wert
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 79°
Sunny & Pleasant Weekend
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events