Student Chris Borg was recently suspended from Hinsdale High School for wearing a T-shirt that includes a silhouette of a gun, the phrase “TeamAK” and a website for the Kentucky Armory Club.
Hinsdale is a suburb of Chicago, which has had high numbers of gun-related deaths the past few years.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Borg claims to have previously worn the shirt to school about 10 times before a hall monitor sent him to the dean of students' office on May 8.
Borg claims he was told by Kimberly Dever, the dean, to turn the shirt inside out, wear different clothing, or be suspended from school for one day.
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The pro-gun student asked the Hinsdale Township High School District 86 board on Monday to remove the suspension from his record (video below).
"I decided to go home for the day because I felt it was a infringement of my First Amendment right to freedom of expression,” Borg told the school board, notes the Chicago Tribune.
“Guns don’t have to be for killing,” added Borg. “They are tools you can use for shooting targets, hunting or self-defense. This is my hobby and it is recognized as an Olympic sport.”
Borg claims that the "TeamAK" writing does not specifically identify the gun on the T-shirt as an AK-47 (although it looks like an AK-47 or similar assault weapon).
School Supt. Bruce Law cited the school's handbook, which bans clothing that "is deemed vulgar, inappropriate, unsafe or disruptive to the educational process (e.g., advertising/display of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, sexual innuendo)."
However, Borg said the word "gun" does not appear in the handbook, pictures of guns are "found in our history textbooks" the school's Devil mascot holds a weapon called a "trident."
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Supt. Law says he won't overturn the suspension, but the school's principal could remove it from Borg's record.
"He's not advocating violence. He's an Eagle Scout. He's a straight-up kid," Borg's father Kevin Borg told the Chicago Tribune. "He's 18. He makes his own decisions. I respect his right to express his feelings."
Sources: Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times