By William R. Toler
Jared Marcum was suspended and arrested for apparently going dressed to the terror of the public.
The West Virginia eighth-grader faces charges of obstruction and disturbing the education process for wearing an NRA t-shirt, according to WOWK-TV.
Marcum was arrested after a “dispute” with a teacher over a shirt depicting a rifle with the words “Protect Your Rights” and the logo of the National Rifle Association.
“I never thought it would go this far because honestly I don’t see a problem with this, there shouldn’t be a problem with this,” he said.
His father, Allen Lardieri, said he was “angry” that he had to leave work early to pick his son up from jail, insisting the 14-year-old was never aggressive and didn’t violate the dress code.
The station reported of the policy:
The Logan County School District’s dress code policy prohibits clothing that displays profanity, violence, discriminatory messages and more but nowhere in the document does it say anything about gun images.
“I will go to the ends of the earth, I will call people, I will write letters, I will do everything in the legal realm to make sure this does not happen again,” Lardieri told the station.
In a subsequent interview, Marcum said the school gave him no paperwork on his suspension. The station also reported it still had not heard back from Logan Middle School.
“People are saying that I did the right thing, that they’re proud,” Marcum said. “What they’re doing is trying to take away my rights, my freedom of speech and my second amendment.”
Attorney Benjamin White has taken the case and says his first goal is to get the charges dropped. A federal or civil suit is also planned.
It seems West Virgina schools have forgotten the scolding given them by the Supreme Court 70 years ago. In the case of West Virginia v. Barnette, Justice Robert Jackson wrote that rights are to be secured even for students “if we are not to strangle the free mind at its source and teach youth to discount important principles of our government as mere platitudes.”
Jackson went on to write one the most quoted sentences in jurisprudence on the First Amendment:
“If there is any fixed star in our Constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”
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