High school student Shane Kinney was placed in on-campus suspension in New York for wearing an NRA Pro-Second Amendment t-shirt. School officials claimed that the shirt was disruptive, inappropriate, and in violation of the GICSD Code of Conduct. After the school administrator acknowledged the shirt, she immediately demanded he turn the shirt inside out or place duct tape over the NRA logo. When the student refused, he was then sent to the principal’s office where his parents were contacted.
Now, I am interested to learn the school’s logic behind punishing Shane for wearing a t-shirt supporting the NRA and the 2nd amendment. Students are given a right to free speech, are they not? I understand that schools implement certain limitations in terms of clothing if they believe the clothing contains vulgarities, promoting drug-usage, gang relation, or other forms of dangerous conduct, or if they have evidence showing that the shirt will likely cause a disruption. In some cases, public and private schools may go as far as to ban logos of any sort. However, at this high school, none of the following apply. There is nothing vulgar about the NRA or the second amendment. His shirt was not promoting gun violence, suicide, homicide, drug usage, gang relation, or dangerous conduct of any kind. He was wearing a t-shirt in support of an organization that he is involved in. So what? Even with all of the above out of the way, the school still claimed that the shirt was disruptive. How so? Because it has a rifle on it? It’s not like he was standing on the cafeteria tables preaching to the student body about shooting people. Come on now! If anything, another student can openly disagree with his organization of choice which can lead to a debate. Big deal. Shouldn’t we be encouraging students to have an opinion and to stand up for what they believe in?
The parents were up in arms over this because no where in the handbook did it say that their kid could not wear a t-shirt from an organization. The closest offense they could find was the schools ban to encourage illegal or violent activities. Last time I checked, the NRA is neither violent nor illegal. Taking away a student’s right to the first amendment? Now that I call illegal.