After being suspended and arrested over a National Rifle Association t-shirt, 14-year-old West Virginia student Jared Marcum was back to school on Monday wearing the exact same shirt that got him into trouble in the first place. This time, however, he was joined by about 100 other students wearing similar pro-gun t-shirts.
The trouble started on Thursday last week when a teacher noticed Marcum’s NRA t-shirt. The teacher demanded that Marcum turn the shirt inside-out, but Marcum refused. The teacher sent Marcum to the principal, who demanded the same thing. Marcum refused again, so the principal had Marcum arrested.
Technically, the arrest didn’t have anything to do with the gun t-shirt. The official charges were for disrupting the education process and obstructing an officer. Ben White, Marcum’s lawyer, believes that both of these charges will be dropped.
In fact, White argued that the school was to blame. “I think the disruption came from the teacher,” White said, pointing to evidence that the teacher raised his voice when he confronted Marcum and sparked a scene in front of other students.
It’s also worth mentioning that Marcum shirt wasn’t violating any rules in the first place. The school’s dress code bans clothing that displays profanity, violence, discriminatory messages, sexually suggestive phrases, or advertisements for any alcohol, tobacco or drug product. There is no mention of guns anywhere on that list. The ban against violent messages comes close to applying, but ultimately it’s a comparison of apples and oranges.
Marcum protested the school by returning to class on Monday wearing the offending NRA t-shirt again. More than 100 students across West Virginia’s Logan County expressed their support for their fellow classmate and the Second Amendment by wearing similar pro-gun shirts.
If the school system decides to stick to its guns and suspend students for pro-gun clothing, it’s clear that they’re going to have to deal with a miniature rebellion and a horde of angry parents.