A Logan County eighth-grader was suspended from school and faces charges over a T-shirt that carried the image of a gun.
Jared Marcum, 15, wore a T-shirt sporting the NRA logo to Logan Middle School on Thursday. The shirt featured the slogan “Protect your right,” and pictured an AR-15 rifle. A teacher asked him to change the shirt, but he refused. Marcum said there’s no policy in the school dress code that prohibits wearing an image of a gun on clothing.
As he was led to the office, the other students in the cafeteria cheered wildly. School officials apparently thought things became out-of-hand enough to call police. That’s when Marcum was charged with inciting a riot and disrupting the school process.
“I didn’t try to incite any riot whatsoever … the kids did that of their own free will,” Marcum said in an interview with WSAZ TV. “I had nothing to do with it.”
“It was very disruptive to the school and disruptive to the educational process,” Logan Police Chief E.K.Harper told WSAZ.
However, the chief said the arrest had nothing to do with the boy’s shirt. He said the fact the NRA logo and a picture of a rifle were depicted on his clothing weren’t even considerations of the arresting officer. Harper said the arrest was for belligerent behavior and almost starting a riot.
Marcum maintained he was trying to exercise his First Amendment Rights and did nothing wrong. His stepfather, Allen Lardieri, plans to stand with him to fight the allegations.
“I’m interested to see what the future holds, and how all this is going to pan out,” Lardieri said.
Officials with the Middle School and the Logan County Board of Education haven’t commented on the matter.