Two students who were banned from wearing clothing that included a phrase critical of President Biden have filed a lawsuit against their Michigan school district.
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) – self-described as “a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to defending and maintaining the individual rights of all Americans to freedom of speech and thought” – represent Tri County Middle School students who sued the school district Tuesday for viewpoint discrimination after they were forced to remove sweatshirts they wore to school that included the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon ” in February 2022.
According to FIRE, an assistant principal and a teacher “ordered the boys to remove their hoodies” for allegedly breaking the dress code while allowing other students to wear other political clothing such as “gay pride themed hoodies “.
The district and its employees, according to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Southern Division, “are censoring students who attempt to express support for former President Donald Trump or opposition to President Joe Biden.”
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FIRE’s lawsuit, the first for the free speech group on behalf of K-12 students, seeks an “injunction to block the school district’s viewpoint-discriminatory ban on ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ apparel and a provision in its dress code that prohibits students from wearing clothing that “draws undue attention” to the student, according to the group.
“Criticism of the president is basic political speech protected by the First Amendment,” said FIRE attorney Conor Fitzpatrick. “Whether it’s a Biden sticker, a ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ sweatshirt, or a gay pride shirt, schools don’t get to pick and choose which political beliefs students can express.”
FIRE said the incident involving the two students is part of a “pattern of political favoritism” by the school district and that it is “mistakenly relying on a policy prohibiting ‘profane’ clothing to censor this particular message.”
“When the school district relaxed the dress code for field day, a school administrator ordered one student to stop wearing a Trump flag as a cape, but allowed other students to wear flags of the ‘gay pride in the same way,’ the group said in a press release. release announcing the demand.
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“The slogan exists as a way to express an anti-Biden message without using profanity,” Fitzpatrick said. “A public school district cannot censor speech simply because it might make someone think of a bad word.”
Firefighter attorney Harrison Rosenthal insisted that the students who were forced to remove their hoodies by the school “should be encouraged” to share their political beliefs.
“These students should not only be allowed to express their political beliefs, they should be encouraged to do so. American students should be free to exercise their constitutional rights, not just learn about them”.
The superintendent of Tri-County Area Schools did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital about the lawsuit.
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The slogan “Let’s go Brandon”, used by American conservatives to criticize Biden, originated in October 2021.
The humorous phrase, which originally came from a NASCAR interview, is a G-rated stand-in for the “F— Joe Biden” chants that were popular during the COVID-19 pandemic. The explicit saying was recited at sporting events across the country in defiance of the president’s coronavirus mandates.
Andrea Vacchiano of Fox News contributed to this article.