A high school sophomore who says she was suspended when she wore a “Women for Trump” mask and a pro-Trump T-shirt to school claims her central Pennsylvania school district is violating her civil rights.
Morgan Earnest claims in a newly filed federal lawsuit that her free speech rights were breached when Mifflin County School District officials gave her the choice of hiding her Trump endorsement garb or being punished.
The 15-year-old Lewistown girl claims that, as an avid Trump supporter, she chose the latter.
This legal fight centers on a clothing policy that district officials adopted on Oct. 1. According to Earnest’s Middle District Court suit, the policy states:
“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. This action is being taken due to complaints that have been received about such items and how those items have disrupted the education of students within the Mifflin County School District.”
Earnest claims she ran afoul of that policy on Oct. 12 when she “decided to
show her support for President Trump by wearing to school a mask and t-shirt supporting President Trump’s reelection campaign.”
Her mask read “Women for Trump” and the message on the front of her T-shirt was “Trump 2020 Keep America Great,” and, on the back, “Trump the Sequel Make Liberals Cry Again.” She claimed she had worn her Trump stuff to school twice before this academic year.
She says that on Oct. 12, however, she was called to the school office and told to turn her mask and shirt inside out for the rest of the day. When she refused, she was suspended for the rest of the day and sent home, her suit states.
“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,” it adds.
Earnest contends that her pro-Trump garb never caused a disruption in school. She claims the district’s apolitical clothing policy is unconstitutional because it violates her free speech rights and her right to due process of law.
She is asking Judge Jennifer P. Wilson to void her punishment, remove the black mark from her educational record and bar the district from enforcing the contested policy. Earnest seeks unspecified financial damages as well.
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