Two middle schoolers from Michigan are suing their school district after they were forced to remove their “Let’s Go Brandon” sweatshirts while at school.
The lawsuit alleges that the students’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when an assistant principal and teacher at Tri County Middle School in Howard City, Michigan told them to remove their “Let’s Go Brandon” sweatshirts. The faculty member claimed the sweatshirts, which were critical of President Joe Biden, were in violation of the school district’s dress code.
According to court documents, the Tri County Area Schools dress code prohibits clothing “with messages or illustrations that are lewd, indecent, vulgar, or profane, or that advertise any product or service not permitted by law to minors.”
One of the middle school students involved in the lawsuit was made to remove his “Let’s Go Brandon” sweatshirt in February 2022, and was again asked to take it off when he wore it a few weeks later.
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A second student wore the same sweatshirt in May 2022 and was also forced to take it off.
According to the lawsuit, another student at the school was asked to remove a Trump flag during a field day last June, despite the fact that other students were wearing LGBTQ+ flags and were not made to remove them.
The phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” originated in October 2021 during a live post-race NASCAR interview with driver Brandon Brown. In the background of the NBC interview, the crowd began chanting “f*** Joe Biden,” and the reporter hilariously announced that the crowd was chanting “Let’s Go Brandon.”
To the dismay of the Democrats, the phrase caught on and quickly became a “nicer” way of saying “f*** Joe Biden,” and has since been printed on t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, bumper stickers, flags, and more.
Fake News attempts to say fans chanting “#FJB” are really saying “Lets Go Brandon” 😂😂😂#NASCAR pic.twitter.com/gpVPW01j9z
— Ole Murica News (@OleMuricaNews) October 3, 2021
The students are being represented by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, which is arguing that, since the phrase does not fall into the category of any of the actual dress code violations, their clients should be allowed to wear the sweatshirts.
“Students have every right to wear LGBT attire to school, just as our clients have every right to wear ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ attire to school. The problem here isn’t with the message. The problem here is that the school district is trying to pick and choose which messages students are allowed to express when they come to school. And that’s something that First Amendment simply does not permit,” said Conor Fitzpatrick, attorney for the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.
“Criticism of the president is core political speech protected by the First Amendment,” said Fitzpatrick. “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 school’s lawyer, however, argued that the district “does not prohibit students from the right to express their political views or from wearing clothing with political slogans,” however, the dress code does prohibit clothing with offensive or vulgar language. The school is arguing that the sweatshirt is “vulgar” because it implies an explicit word.
This argument does not explain why the student wearing the Trump flag was also made to remove his pro-GOP apparel.
The students hope the court will grant a permanent injunction to stop the school district from enforcing a ban on all “Let’s Go Brandon” apparel, as well as apparel that’s “disruptive to the teacher and/or learning environment by calling undue attention to oneself.”