MIFFLIN COUNTY, Pa. — A federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday against the Mifflin County School District in response to the district's dress code which bans clothing containing political and Black Lives Matter logos.
Morgan Earnest, a sophomore at the High School filed the lawsuit claiming the district violated her civil rights. Earnest, 15, of Lewistown, says her free speech rights were violated when she was suspended on October 12 for wearing a mask that read 'Women for Trump' and a t-shirt supporting President Trump's reelection campaign. The message on the front of her shirt read "Trump 2020 Keep America Great," and on the back, "Trump the Sequel Make Liberals Cry Again."
School administrators adopted a clothing policy on October 1 which reads:
"Starting Monday October 5, 2020, no masks, articles of clothing or other items maybe worn or otherwise brought on 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."
In a court filing, Earnest was called to the school office on October 12 and told to turn her mask and shirt inside out for the rest of the day. She refused and was suspended for the rest of the day and sent home, the lawsuit states.
Earnest says in the lawsuit she had worn her President Trump reelection t-shirt to school on two prior occasions. Earnest maintains in the lawsuit that her pro-Trump outfit never caused a disruption in the school.
She claims the district's policy is unconstitutional because it violates her free speech and her right to due process of law.
The teenager is seeking to have her disciplinary educational record pertaining to this incident expunged and to bar the district from enforcing its clothing policy. Earnest is also seeking unspecified financial damages.
Jim Estep, Superintendent for the Mifflin County School District, provided this statement in response to Earnest's lawsuit: