Police arrested a West Virginia eighth-grader last week after he refused to remove the National Rifle Association t-shirt he wore to school.
The t-shirt depicts a rifle with the statement “protect your right,” according to Fox News.
The student, Jared Marcum, was asked by a teacher to change his shirt. He refused, and was eventually suspended, arrested for obstructing the education process and jailed.
But Marcum maintains that he did nothing illegal, and that jailing him amounts to censorship of his pro-Second Amendment views.
“What they’re doing is trying to take away my rights, my freedom of speech and my Second Amendment,” said Marcum in an interview with WOWK-TV.
The school dress code policy forbids violent imagery on clothes, but does not specifically mention pictures of guns.
“A student will not dress or groom in a manner that disrupts the educational process or is detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of others,” the dress code reads. “A student will not dress in a manner that is distractive or indecent, to the extent that it interferes with the teaching and learning process, including wearing any apparel that displays or promotes any drug-, alcohol- or tobacco-related product that is prohibited in school buildings, on school grounds, in school-leased or owned vehicles, and at all school-affiliated functions.”
There is nothing in the policy to prevent Marcum from wearing a pro-gun t-shirt, said Allen Lardieri, the boy’s father.
“He did not violate any school policy,” said Lardieri in a statement. “He did not become aggressive.”
Marcum’s attorney, Benjamin White, expects the charges to be dropped. He also plans to file a lawsuit against Logan County School District for violating his client’s rights.
Jared Marcum friends wore t-shirts depicting firearms to school on Friday to protest the suspension. At least one of the students was also asked to remove their objectionable clothing, according to Fox News.
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