California high school forces girl to remove ‘violent’ NRA t-shirt, apologizes

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School officials at Canyon High School in Anaheim, Calif. forced a student to change out of a t-shirt promoting the National Rifle Association.

The incident happened in September, reports CBS Los Angeles. A security guard at Canyon High – “Home of the Comanches” — tapped sophomore Haley Bullwinkle on the shoulder and marched her directly to the principal’s office.

Bullwinkle, 16, said school officials then commanded her to remove the shirt immediately and put on something else.

“They were treating me like I was a criminal,” Bullwinkle told the station.

According to the sophomore, they also told her that the NRA shirt “promoted gun violence.

The images on the shirt are a male deer, an American flag and the silhouette of a hunter in a field. Below those images are the words “Protecting America’s Traditions Since 1871.”

The shirt was a gift from the girl’s father, an NRA member received it when he joined the civil rights organization.

According to CBS Los Angeles, the high school’s ambiguous dress code prohibits “offensive, violent or divisive clothing.”

Bullwinkle’s unnamed father emailed Kimberly Fricker, the principal at Canyon High, seeking further explanation concerning how the school defines “violent” clothing.

In response, Fricker blamed “school police.”

“The shirt had a gun on it, which is not allowed by school police,” the principal wrote. “It’s protocol to have students change when they’re in violation of the dress code.”

The girl’s father noted that Canyon High’s mascot is the Comanche.

“I think that if you consider the hunter — the image of the hunter to be offensive — certainly there are groups that would consider the Comanche Indian chief to be offensive,” he said.

He also observed that Canyon High’s drill team twirls fake rifles, according to CBS Los Angeles.

After CBS Los Angeles reported on story, school officials quickly caved. On Thursday, school officials apologized to changed course and apologized to Bullwinkle and promised to train security guards and other staffers so that “an incident like this does not occur again,” reports the Los Angeles Times.

The incident appears similar to an April 2013 incident that occurred in Logan County, West Va. involving a then-eighth-grader, Jared Marcum, who was suspended and, astonishingly, arrested after he refused to remove an NRA t-shirt which depicted a hunting rifle with the statement “protect your right.”

In a move The Daily Caller can only characterize as courageous, Marcum, 14, returned to Logan Middle School after his suspension wearing exactly the same shirt. (RELATED: Eighth-grader arrested over NRA shirt returns to school in same shirt)

Local prosecutors pursued a criminal case against the eighth-grader. Eventually, 70 days after the incident occurred, prosecutors withdrew a criminal charge of obstructing an officer against the 14-year-old boy. (RELATED: Charges finally dropped against eighth-grader who wore NRA shirt to school)

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Eric Owens