Lawyers representing The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs Thursday sent a cease and desist letter to Township School District Superintendent Craig Wigley demanding the school reverse its student handbook policy related to off school grounds weapons possession.
According to the student handbook at Lacey Township High School, students are not allowed to be in possession of “any weapon of any type for any reason or purpose whether on or off school grounds during the academic year” or they will face long-term suspension, evaluation by the high school Child Study Team, and a recommendation by the administration to the Board of Education for suspension for at least 1 year.
“They’re treating these students as property. The notion that they think that they can tell students that they can’t engage in constitutionally protected conduct off school grounds is outrageous. It’s absolutely outrageous. And this both Second and First Amendment issues,” ANJRPC executive director Scott Bach told The Daily Caller Friday.
The Daily Caller asked Superintendent Wigley about the specific school policy and is waiting on a response. However, Wigley did dispute a social media claim on Instagram, first reported by Ammoland, that two Lacey Township High School students were disciplined in some way over a photo of the pair at a local firing range.
“Please be advised this is a private student matter in which we are not able to discuss,” Wigley said in an e-mail statement. “I will share with you the information posted on social media is incorrect and the facts are contained in confidential student records. I hope this helps answer your question and invalidity of social media misinformation. No students have been suspended for a gun offense now or during my tenure.”
Bach says the issue of the alleged disciplinary action against both students was brought to his organization’s attention initially and they discovered the school policy in the course of their investigation of the issue.
“In looking at the student handbook the one thing that’s not debatable about what occurred is there’s a student handbook that contains absolutely outrageous provisions,” Bach said.
He continued, “It has a definite chilling effect on the exercise of the Second Amendment. It’s definitely unconstitutional and the idea that if you post a photo of yourself engaging in lawful conduct outside of school grounds, that could result in disciplinary action is a violation of the First Amendment.”
The ANJRPC decided that whether disciplinary action had happened or not against the students, the policy in the handbook still had to go.
“So we had our counsel basically prepare a cease and desist letter basically saying, number one, your policies are unconstitutional for the following reasons and number two, if you did do anything–if you took any disciplinary action against these kids you need to rescind it and you need to apologize to them and you need to correct the record.”
Frank Horvath, a father of another student at Lacey Township High School, told TheDC that Wigley said in an email to parents that all students’ social media, regardless of privacy settings, are subject to scrutiny by the school.
“In a phone conversation with me, he stated that the school board with assistance from the P.D. regularly monitor the students’ social media,” Horvath said. He added, “I agreed with the school Superintendent 100 percent that our children’s safety is essential. However, I firmly believe that we can provide protection and security without compromising our liberty and civil rights.”
According to Horvath, other parents of students expressed similar sentiments to the superintendent and a School district meeting on the 19th at Lacey Township is expected to convene and address the matter.