A Pennsylvania high school student who claims she was sent home for wearing pro-Trump clothing filed a lawsuit against her school district in Federal court on Tuesday, accusing the district of violating her free speech rights, PennLive reported.
On October 1, the school district issued a new policy on clothing which banned students from wearing anything that contained political messaging.
The 15-year-old student, Morgan Earnest, who attends Mifflin County High School in Lewistown, claimed the policy violated her rights to free speech and due process of law under the Constitution.
Earnest wore a ‘Women for Trump’ face covering and a ‘Trump the Sequel Make Liberals Cry Again’ t-shirt on October 12 when School administrators asked her to turn her mask and shirt inside out for the rest of the day. When she refused, she was suspended and sent home, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
“The district’s representatives further communicated that she would be sent home if she ever wore a mask or T-shirt expressing a political viewpoint again,” the lawsuit states.
The district’s policy also banned clothing depicting Confederate flags, Black Lives Matter logos, and swastikas.
“Starting Monday October 5, 2020, no masks, articles of clothing or other items may be worn or otherwise brought to Mifflin County School District property, which contain political speech or symbolize a particular political viewpoint, including but not limited to confederate flags and swastikas, as well as BLM logos or phrases associated with that movement,” the policy read.
The sophmore claimed she wore the pro-Trump clothing to school without incident on two separate occasions this year.
Earnest is seeking unspecified damages, as well as a judge to nullify her suspension and prohibit district officials from enforcing the policy, PennLive.com reported.
Mifflin County School District Superintendent Jim Estep defended the school’s actions and disagreed with Earnest’s claims when reached for comment Thursday.
“We strongly disagree with the allegations in the complaint, including the veracity of those allegations,” Estep told the New York Post. “We stand by our decision, which was made in the interest of safety and to ensure students’ educational environment would not continue to be disrupted.”
It’s not the first time a high school student has been disciplined for wearing a pro-Trump clothing. An Oregon high school student also sued his school district but wound up settling with his school, the Associated Press reported.
Under the settlement, his school district had to pay $25,000 in attorney’s fees and the principal had to write an apology to the student.