The West Virginia eighth-grader who was suspended and, astonishingly, arrested last week after he refused to remove a t-shirt supporting the National Rifle Association returned to school on Monday.
In a move The Daily Caller can only characterize as courageous, 14-year-old Jared Marcum returned to Logan Middle School in Logan County, West Va., wearing exactly the same shirt, which depicts a hunting rifle with the statement “protect your right.”
According to Fox News, other students across the rural county showed their support for Marcum by wearing similar shirts to school.
“There’s a lot of people wearing this same exact shirt, showing great, great support and I really appreciate it,” Marcum said in the morning outside the schoolhouse door, according to local NCB affiliate WBOY-TV.
Marcum’s attorney, Ben White, said that school officials are sticking by the eighth-grader’s one-day suspension because, they say, he caused a disruption.
“Their version is that the suspension was for disrupting the educational process, not the shirt,” White told Fox News.
White has called the school’s position into question. He asserts that his client was exercising his free speech rights. As ABC News reports, Marcum’s version of events is that he had worn the shirt for several hours without incident.
At lunchtime, Marcum maintains, a teacher confronted him about the shirt. When Marcum said he would not take off the shirt or turn it inside out, the teacher began yelling, which caused a cafeteria scene.
“I believe the teacher was acting beyond the scope of his employment,” White told ABC. “What the video shows is that students did step up on the benches to the tables in the lunchroom when they were escorting Jared out of building. Kids jumped up, clapping.”
The police chief in Logan City (pop. 1,779) said that Marcum was arrested for the disruption he caused at school.
“His conduct in school almost incited a riot,” Chief E.K. Harper told ABC.
White added that Marcum wore the shirt to express his support for the Second Amendment. He said the school’s dress code does not forbid such shirts. A straightforward reading of the dress code would seem to bear that interpretation out. The dress code, which is posted online, forbids certain kinds of clothing — for example, messages that support violence, discrimination and alcohol use — but nowhere are constitutional rights mentioned.
Presumably, Marcum and his student supporters were not arrested or suspended for wearing the pro-gun shirts on Monday. However, it’s not entirely clear.
White still expects the charges to be dropped, and he says a civil lawsuit is forthcoming.
Marcum’s arrest and suspension is the latest incident of anti-gun hysteria to erupt in a school setting. There have been many others in the last few months.
Officials at an elementary school in small-town Michigan impounded a third-grader boy’s batch of 30 homemade birthday cupcakes because they were adorned with green plastic figurines representing World War Two soldiers. The school principal branded the military-themed cupcakes “insensitive” in light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. (RELATED: School confiscates third-grader’s cupcakes topped with toy soldiers)
At Genoa-Kingston Middle School in northeast Illinois, a teacher threatened an eighth-grader with suspension if he did not remove his t-shirt emblazoned with the interlocking rifles, a symbol of the United States Marines. (RELATED: Junior high teacher tells kid to remove Marines t-shirt or get suspended)
At Park Elementary School in Baltimore, Maryland, a student was suspended for two days because his teacher thought he shaped a strawberry, pre-baked toaster pastry into something resembling a gun. (RELATED: Second-grader suspended for having breakfast pastry shaped like a gun)
At Poston Butte High School in Arizona, a high school freshman was suspended for setting a picture of a gun as the desktop background on his school-issued computer. (RELATED: Freshman suspended for picture of gun)
At D. Newlin Fell School in Philadelphia, school officials reportedly yelled at a student and then searched her in front of her class after she was found with a paper gun her grandfather had made for her. (RELATED: Paper gun causes panic)
In rural Pennsylvania, a kindergarten girl was suspended for making a “terroristic threat” after she told another girl that she planned to shoot her with a pink Hello Kitty toy gun that bombards targets with soapy bubbles.
At Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School in Maryland, a six-year-old boy was suspended for making the universal kid sign for a gun, pointing at another student and saying “pow.” That boy’s suspension was later lifted and his name cleared. (RELATED: Pow! You’re suspended, kid)