Middle School Students Fight Back After School Forces Them to Remove Anti-Biden Shirts
Two middle school students are suing their Michigan school district after they were forced to remove their “Let’s Go Brandon” sweatshirts in February, Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, who represent the students, announced Tuesday.
Tri County Middle School Assistant Principal Andrew Buikema and teacher Wendy Bradford allegedly told the students to take off the sweatshirts that featured the line commonly used among critics of President Joe Biden as a euphemism for “f*** Joe Biden,” according to the complaint.
The district alleged that the sweatshirts violated school policy that prohibits profane language on clothing because the phrase is “is intended to ridicule the President with profanity,” but FIRE challenges they violated the students’ First Amendment rights.
“We expect our public schools to prepare students for the real world,” Conor Fitzpatrick, FIRE attorney, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “That means schools must prepare students for a life where their neighbors and leaders may not think, pray, or vote the same way they do.
“Being exposed to different views is something schools can and should encourage, not censor.”
BREAKING: FIRE sues Michigan school district for ordering students to remove “Let’s Go Brandon” sweatshirts. ➡️ https://t.co/WSZqskxWfR
— FIRE (@TheFIREorg) April 25, 2023
Buikema allegedly ordered another student in June 2022 to remove a Trump 2020 flag being worn as a cape during the school’s annual “field day,” during which students are able to wear “non-traditional apparel,” according to the lawsuit.
However, other students were not instructed to remove their gay pride flags.
“Criticism of the president is core political speech protected by the First Amendment,” Fitzpatrick said in FIRE’s news release.
“Whether it’s a Biden sticker, ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ sweatshirt, or gay pride T-shirt, schools can’t pick and choose which political beliefs students can express.”
The students seek a permanent injunction preventing the school from enforcing a ban on “Let’s Go Brandon” apparel as well as a policy that prohibits clothing that is “disruptive to the teaching and/or learning environment by calling undue attention to oneself,” according to the lawsuit.
The students also seek a court order ruling that the district’s policy violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
Tri County Area Schools, Buikema and Bradford did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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