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.