LOGAN, W.Va. — An independent investigator has been hired by the Logan County Board of Education to assess why a middle school student was suspended for wearing an NRA T-shirt.
The board announced Thursday the investigator had finished his interviews and will present a report soon.
The controversy erupted last month after a student was suspended for one day from Logan Middle School.
The shirt had an NRA logo on it with the slogan, “Protect your right,” and a picture of a Remington rifle. Jared Marcum, 15, challenged the teacher who asked that he remove the shirt, claiming there is no policy in the school dress code prohibiting images of guns on clothing.
County school superintendent Wilma Zigmond said shirts promoting guns and the NRA are not prohibited in Logan County, but policy states students will “not ignore or refuse to comply with directions or instructions given by school authorities.”
Zigmond said students are not allowed to disrupt the educational process.
Marcum’s attorney, Ben White, previously said on MetroNews “Talkline” 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?”
Logan County School Board attorney Leslie Tyree told MetroNews Thursday the investigator was hired because the board wants an objective evaluation of what happened.
“It’s not something the board of education typically does. However, it has occurred in instances where we feel that an issue is getting a lot of public attention and we need to be very clear about the facts,” Tyree said.
The report is nothing more than information gathering, Tyree said, and the school board doesn’t have any influence on its content.
“The board may not take any action at all and they may — it just depends on what the report says,” Tyree said.