In August 2021, four members of the Newberg School Board -- Dave Brown, Brian Shannon, Trevor DeHart, and Renee Powell -- directed the Newberg Superintendent to remove Black Lives Matter displays and LGBTQ+ Pride flags from Newberg Schools, and directed the board’s policy committee to draft a policy prohibiting political displays from being put up. The policy that was developed and adopted prohibits District employees from displaying signs supporting or opposing “political, quasi-political, or controversial” topics.
On December 17, 2021, the ACLU of Oregon, along with cooperating counsel at Davis Wright Tremaine, filed a lawsuit against the Newberg School District and four Newberg School Board members on behalf of a district employee, Chelsea Shotts. In the lawsuit, Ms. Shotts asks the court to declare that her display of a rainbow sign with a heart and the words “Be Known” in her classroom window is protected by Article I, sections 8 and 20 of the Oregon Constitution. These provisions protect free expression, require equal treatment under the law, and ensure that laws are not vague.