Society

'I Was So Mad': Illinois Teen Says School Principal Sent Him Home For Wearing Pro-Hunting Sweatshirt

| by Karin Sun
Pro-Hunting sweatshirtPro-Hunting sweatshirt

An Illinois high school student was reportedly sent home from school for wearing a sweatshirt promoting hunting. Later in the week, school administrators changed their minds about banning the garment.

Clinton Boyer, 17, of Dixon, Illinois, was sent home from Dixon High School on Oct. 26 after wearing a pro-hunting sweatshirt with a picture of a rifle on it to school, SaukValley.com reports.

The teenager said he needed a sweatshirt for school, so his father, Derrick, gave him a mustard yellow sweater that read, "I'll stop hunting when they pry the gun from my cold dead hands." The shirt also displayed a picture of a rifle and other hunting equipment on the front.

Clinton said that on Oct. 26, his teacher, Lisa Guenther, saw the sweatshirt and sent him to Principal Michael Grady's office. The principal, who has the final say on dress code enforcement at the school, told Clinton that the sweatshirt he was wearing was inappropriate.

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 "They told me if I don't take the sweater off or turn it inside out, I would be sent home," Clinton told SaukValley.com.

"I refused to take it off, because it wasn't against the rules," the teen added. "I could have went home, changed the sweater and came back, but I was so mad, I knew I wasn't coming back."

The teen, who plans to join the Army Reserves after high school, said school authorities changed their minds two days later on Oct. 28, and they told him that he would be allowed to wear the sweater going forward since it wasn't against school rules.

Although both Grady and Superintendent Margo Empen declined to comment on the incident to SaukValley.com, the Dixon High School student handbook reportedly states that clothing that advertises or endorses violent behavior is banned at the school.

The handbook also states that students are not allowed to wear clothing displaying lewd, vulgar, or obscene language or symbols to school.

The teen's father said he would have protested had school officials not reversed their decision and allowed his son to wear the sweatshirt.

"I'm a big advocate of Second Amendment rights and hunting rights," Derrick, 43, said. "I felt they were violating his rights. I would have contacted the National [Rifle] Association or the Illinois State [Rifle] Association."

He added that both he and his son are avid hunters and have been hunting together since the boy was 7 years old.

Derrick, who owns another sweatshirt identical to the one he gave his son, said he believed school officials overreacted when they initially sent his son home for wearing the sweatshirt.

"I understand the whole violence at schools and how it needs to be addressed, but this has nothing to do with gun violence," Derrick added. "Hunting is a sport, just like any other sport. That's how it needs to be taken, not that he is bringing a gun to school."

This is not the first time a high school student has been disciplined for wearing a garment that depicted firearms. In November 2014, a Wisconsin teen was sent home from Cudahy High School for wearing a sweatshirt with two guns drawn on it and the words "Respect" and "Smith & Wesson," the Wisconsin Daily Independent reported at the time.

Sources:  SaukValley.com, Wisconsin Daily Independent

Photo Credit: Alex Paschal/SaukValley.com