The attorney for the Logan County middle school student who was suspended from school after refusing to change the t-shirt he wore to school last week says the teenager was within his rights at the time.

The shirt had an NRA logo on it with the slogan, “Protect your right,” and a picture of an AR-15 rifle.

Jared Marcum, 15, challenged the teacher who asked that he remove the shirt, claiming there is no policy in the school dress code that prohibits wearing an image of a gun on clothing.

Attorney Ben White says his client was right because the shirt is considered protected political speech.  “Ultimately, I don’t think a child, when given an illegal command to do something that’s not right, should follow through with it,” he said.  “I mean, where do you draw that line?”

The t-shirt confrontation drew attention and cheers in the cafeteria at Logan Middle School last Thursday before Marcum was taken to the school office.  Students were reportedly yelling for him and Logan law enforcement officers were called to the school to help restore order.

Marcum was suspended because of the disruption and could face criminal charges based on allegations that he interrupted the school process by not complying and allegedly being belligerent with officers.

White says he does not think criminal charges are warranted in this case.

“It was an over reaction by some educator that believed that it was against the school policy and, I think, just went down the wrong road.”  White says he wants to know what the Logan County Board of Education has to say about the teacher’s actions in confronting Marcum about his t-shirt.

White says a lawsuit may filed against that teacher or the Board for alleged violations of Marcum’s First Amendment rights.

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Comments

  • mike fielding

    This teen was well within his rights to refuse to remove his t-shirt. It did not violate any school dress code. The teacher overreacted and should reprimanded in this case he or she caused the student uproar not the teen.
    When in this country will adults in charge of our youths start using common since and stop over reacting at ever little thing students do?

  • Titus Oates

    Mr. White:

    42 USC 1983.
    Sue the bastards for every cent they have.

    Titus

  • D.L.Hawes, Esq.

    I, too, would like to know more about the teacher who places her own political agenda above the needs of her students and abuses the power of the local police in enforcing her own political views against a child. How does this help increase knowledge of one's rights and responsibilities under the law, critical thinking skills, and socially responsible behavior?

  • Wowbagger

    It is my understanding that the next day 100 or so students showed up with NRA tee shirts. Also, the Supreme Court has already affirmed school students right to free speech and all teachers should be reminded of this occasionally.

    While I am happy with the young peoples response, as it bodes well for the future. I am getting very concerned that with the new seat belt law, schools breakfasts for all, and many other small items of news like this one the West Virginia's motto is beginning to stray from:

    Montani Semper Liberi

    to something more like:

    The Nanny State of West Virginia

    These Progressives creep and crawl in with little moves to steal your freedom hoping no one will notice until it is too late.

  • Gun-owning educator

    I sure hope that teacher doesn't teach Civics.

    • NorthernWVman

      I would bet he does not history.

      • wvtd

        probably teaches social justice and community organizing.

        • wvtd

          and environmental health/ global warming.

  • Jonus Grumby

    Just wait until the ACLU gets involved (crickets chirping).

  • Sammy

    I have a problem with the fact that the boy was arrested over an incident that should have been handled internally. One, the shirt was NOT in violation of the school dress code. Two, the parents were not called until after the fact. This sounds like a teacher that has a personal opinion regarding our second ammendment, which should have no place in our schools. I have seen teachers that feel they have too much authority and principals that cannot control their student body. I am glad that Mr. Marcum has brought attention to this injustice.

  • WV90

    The boy done the right thing,he stood up for his self.To many people think they can run off others.

  • C.Hoffman

    I commend Jared Marcum for his stand and agree with wirerow and At Last we need more info on the teacher. The old saying goes, "Out of the mouth of babes."

  • At Last

    Let's hear more information on this teacher. Exactly who is this "teacher" who obviously doesn't even know the school's dress code, since the t-shirt in question did NOT violate the said code?

    Was this incident more personal? Such as, did the t-shirt offend the teacher and their personal/political views (opinions)? If I chose to wear an AC/DC t-shirt to school while my teacher preferred country, would their personal opinion lead them to using their "teacher" authority as an attempt to have me remove it (even though it would NOT be a violation to school code)??

    Give us more information of the teacher!

  • wirerowe

    Another lawyer is all we need in our schools. But criminal charges for a t shirt is absurd. The teacher is the one that made this an issue. Teach your children and don't sweat the small stuff. Ms Brown if you don't believe in the 1st and 2nd amendments to the Constitution you may want to draft up amendments that would support your beliefs.

  • thornton

    Interesting that the attorney in the same interview with Hoppy termed his client as a young man simply wanting to engage in a debate and also, .....a 14 year-old child.
    Each characterization obviously based on the image he desires to portray at the moment.
    Lawyers....have to love their usage of the term disingenuous.

    When children want attention, the adult needs to not allow the manner of attention grab to drive their reaction.
    In this case, the adult made the worst mistake in acting equal to the little boy.
    Essentially, much ado about little...on both sides of this imbroglio.

    And, while one can hunt with the AR clones....the image of one seldom evokes the thought of deep woods, cracking twigs and backstrap on a stick.

    • NorthernWVman

      I disagree. A modern rifle does conjure a liking to the thought of deep woods, cracking twigs and backstrap on a stick. We all know you are against the modern rifle and it's implications to hunting. I would have to assume you too have moderized in a sense. i am sure that you no longer only use a musket for your excursions in the field after deer and your beloved grouse.

  • Mary Brown

    Mr. White grow up...
    We have enough disturbance in our schools. What was this student trying to prove? Causing trouble. The dress code should say No pictures No writing on t shirts in school!!

    • hangman

      If we say no to freedom of speech Mary , then why don't you shut up.

    • ffejbboc

      The teacher is the one who made a scene by confronting the kid and asking him to remove his shirt. Nobody was complaining, nobody felt threatned, nothing was going on. The kid was minding his own business, eating lunch. The teacher caused the situation.

    • Ben White

      Thanks for your comment Ms. Brown; but you point out the most basic issue in this case . . . the dress code DOES NOT say No pictures nor No writing on t shirts in school. But as of today it does not. Therefore, there should not have been ANY problem as you are correct there is enough disturbance in our schools without those in authority create unnecessary disturbances over something that does not violate any dress code in place or otherwise.

    • Johnny

      Ms. Brown, get a clue. this kid was more "grown up" than the teacher obviously. oh...the horror of a picture of a rifle...Please, you silly liberals are all the same. Bottom line is: The "disturbances" you are trying to point out are committed by unruly kids with no proper parenting. This was not such a case. This is a case of some retard liberal teacher pushing their own views on another human be cause they simply disagree with the premise of the message on the shirt. That teacher needs not to be a teacher.