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Old 26 July 2018, 04:09 PM
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Default Oregon High School Student Suspended for Border Wall t-shirt sues school

Fixed the headline to make it more concise and less clickbait.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-...id=mailsignout

Quote:
An Oregon high school student who was suspended over a shirt that touted President Trump’s proposed border wall has agreed to settle his lawsuit after the school agreed to pay $25,000 for his legal fees and have its principal write him an apology.

Addison Barnes, who graduated this year from Liberty High School in Hillsboro, Ore., outside Portland, filed a lawsuit in federal court in May alleging that the school violated his First Amendment rights when it punished him for wearing the shirt to a politics class discussion about immigration. The shirt said “Donald J. Trump Border Wall Construction Co.,” and “The Wall Just Got 10 Feet Taller.”
I recognize that students have a First Amendment right to free speech. But that particular t-shirt crosses a line. It's not simply pro-45, it's it's supporting a specific racism-based soundbite that really does attack Hispanic students.
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Old 26 July 2018, 04:30 PM
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I'm not sure it crosses a line*, but even if it does, the student has the right to cross that line with regard to spoken or written speech whether in school or not. It doesn't directly attack Hispanic students and frankly, that's the only kind of attack that should even come close to being prohibited. Especially in a political discussion about immigration there are going to be opinions that are going to be negative towards Hispanic students. And while we may not like those opinions, they have equal right to be held and expressed.

tl;dr: I disagree with what his shirt says, but I will defend his right to say/wear it.

* It would cross a line legally if it advocated violence or morally if it repeated Trump's racist comments about Mexican's being rapists and murderers. The former would possibly be illegal, the latter should never be.
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Old 26 July 2018, 04:57 PM
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It's only pro-Trump/pro-wall with an explanation or with a past history on which to judge the student. I could easily see it being worn as a protest (not that I'm saying it was). That was my initial thought when I saw the blurb and a picture of the shirt in my news feed. I didn't even click the link to find out the details.
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Old 26 July 2018, 06:35 PM
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ASL, I have a lot of trouble imagining that shirt being taken as a protest against the wall. It looks quite clearly pro-wall to me. And the line's a direct quote from Trump -- granted not everyone's going to know that, but I suspect that a good percentage of USA high schoolers who are taking a politics class, especially in a school that's a third Hispanic, are going to recognize the quote. It was widely publicized by both Trump's supporters and his opponents.

On the one hand, I'm pretty sure that shirt was worn as a provocation. On the other hand, it was worn to a politics class specifically on immigration issues, at which students would presumably be expected to hear a variety of opinions. And, much as I dislike it, I think it probably does come under free speech law, even as it applies to high school students. As GenYus says, it's not a direct attack on other students, and I'll add that it's not a call for violence.

I hope the school is discussing this whole commotion in that politics class.
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Old 26 July 2018, 08:08 PM
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All I can say is when I saw the shirt and a neutral headline, I thought "Wow, they suspended a student over protesting the wall with a t-shirt?"

Maybe I have a dark adapted eye. I see satire when it isn’t there.
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Old 26 July 2018, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL View Post
It's only pro-Trump/pro-wall with an explanation or with a past history on which to judge the student.
Here's a pretty good explanation, the student's own statement:

Quote:
“I brought this case to stand up for myself and other students who might be afraid to express their right-of-center views,” Barnes said in a statement. “Everyone knows that if a student wears an anti-Trump shirt to school, the teachers won’t think twice about it. But when I wore a pro-Trump shirt, I got suspended. That’s not right.”

Last edited by GenYus234; 26 July 2018 at 08:32 PM. Reason: replaced partial quote with full quote from another source
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Old 26 July 2018, 08:43 PM
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I don't agree with the student's viewpoint, but I think that free speech so long as your views agree with one side of the issue is not free speech.
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Old 27 July 2018, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
Here's a pretty good explanation, the student's own statement:
I’m not doubting the student's intent based on the content of the article, more the school's decision-making process to begin with. Being a little ambiguous makes it harder to claim it was overly provocative/disruptive, as one might normally expect as the justification for sending someone home over a t-shirt. I guess that’s why they went with the legal fees/apology approach.
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Old 27 July 2018, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
I'm not sure it crosses a line*, but even if it does, the student has the right to cross that line with regard to spoken or written speech whether in school or not.
No, they don't. Students do not have the same rights within schools as they do outside school walls.

They do need to comply with school rules and they do have restrictions on their rights as to what they can wear, what they can say, and what they can do- and sometimes those things even apply to actions outside of school (like cyberbullying other students outside of school can have repercussions in school).

Tinker vs. Des Moines isn't the only case that addresses schools and freedom of speech- there have been others since then that have elaborated on the ruling like Bethel School District v. Fraser, Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, and Morse v. Frederick (had to look those up...it's been awhile since my Legal Theory in Education classes).

To be clear-students do have rights. But they are not the same outside of school walls as they are within. As a teacher, that is such a common misconception of students that I'd prefer people knew more about their rights and how they change in various settings.

*And sometimes students have more rights than they think they do. It can go both ways.

**And obviously here the court sided with the student. Hopefully it was clear I was addressing the above as a jumping off point.
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  #10  
Old 27 July 2018, 04:02 PM
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To clarify, it is my opinion that students have more rights than what schools and courts have "allowed" them.
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  #11  
Old 27 July 2018, 08:21 PM
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Possibly the school could ban any and all political speech on clothing worn on the school grounds. Schools can have dress codes, after all, up to and including requiring wearing specified uniforms.

But I don't think they can ban clothing that makes a political statement favoring a politician and/or a political action, while simultaneously allowing clothing that makes the opposite statement. So if Barnes is correct that the school was allowing anti-Trump shirts while banning his pro-Trump shirt, then it sounds like he has a case.
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  #12  
Old 27 July 2018, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
To clarify, it is my opinion that students have more rights than what schools and courts have "allowed" them.
At the risk of bleeding over from a previous thread, how do you distinguish between a right you have, but are not "allowed" by the courts vs a right you claim to have, but don’t?
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  #13  
Old 28 July 2018, 12:04 AM
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Everyone has all rights by default. Some rights are limited by government when the exercise of that right would infringe upon the rights of others. But the government must have a good reason why the exercise of that right would infringe upon others (some of course are self-evident). A common reason given for dress code infractions is that the clothing could cause a "disruption" of learning. IMO, that is not good enough. If a disruption is caused, then address the disruption.

The reason I used scare quotes is that often it seems that the government puts itself in the position of what it allows us rather than what we cede to it for the common good.
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