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Read & React: West Virginia Student Suspended for NRA Shirt

by James Tarr   |  April 29th, 2013 15

It seems more often we read news stories where it is apparent that at least in some areas of the country, the inmates are running the asylum, meaning people who are irrational or just plain nuts are the people in power making the rules—or in some cases, the laws.

The most recent, “Are you kidding me?” news story came from West Virginia, where a 14-year-old middle school student was arrested and suspended simply for wearing an NRA T-shirt. I looked into the story, convinced that there had to be something else involved—an assault on a teacher, drugs, something.

Nope. Jared Marcum was arrested simply because he wore an NRA T-shirt to school and refused to take it off. On the shirt was a picture of a hunting camoed AR-15 and the words, “Protect Your Right” along with the NRA logo. The shirt apparently upset a teacher in the cafeteria, who told Marcum to take off the shirt or turn it inside out. Marcum informed the teacher that the shirt didn’t violate the school’s dress code, so he was sent to the principal’s office.

“When the police came, I was still talking and telling them that this was wrong, that they cannot do this, it’s not against any school policy,” Marcum told The Associated Press. “The officer, he told me to sit down and be quiet. I said, ‘No, I’m exercising my right to free speech.’ I said it calmly.” After the incident, local police charged Marcum with disrupting the educational process and obstructing an officer.

Check out the video from WOWK-TV in Charleston, W.V.:

According to the Logan County School District’s dress code, students are forbidden from wearing anything that displays profanity, violence, discriminatory messages or sexually suggestive phrases. Garments that glorify alcohol, tobacco or drugs are also banned. Still, Marcum’s lawyer, Ben White, insists that the NRA shirt did not constitute a violation of the dress code, let alone grounds for an arrest. White requested copies of the surveillance tape from the cafeteria.

Video evidence in the case, White said, indicates the situation in the cafeteria deteriorated when a teacher raised his voice while confronting Jared. Other students jumped up on benches and began chanting Jared’s name.

“I think the disruption came from the teacher,” White said. After his one-day suspension, Marcum returned to school wearing the exact same T-shirt that got him suspended. Marcum was joined by about 100 other students across Logan County, W.V., who wore shirts with similar gun rights slogans in a show of support for free speech.

“I’m still confused, thoroughly confused,” Marcum told a local TV station. “The school didn’t even make a statement to the news agencies, much less myself.”

The case has been turned over to the local juvenile prosecutor.

“My sense is that no charges will be imminent,” White said.

We at Guns & Ammo can’t believe any prosecutor would be stupid enough to press charges against Marcum, but then again, who would have thought Marcum would have been suspended and arrested in the first place?

This is a complete and total failure of leadership. Apparently there is no responsible adult supervision in Marcum’s school; if there was, the teacerh, the principal and the police officer should have been the ones punished for misbehavior.

However, there is one thing we all learned from this story: Jared Marcum’s parents are doing a darn good job.

What do you think? Is the school justified in suspending Marcum, or does the suspension violate his First Amendment rights?

  • doliver

    efforts to nullify the “Bill of Rights” continue relentlessly

  • Mark S McKinney

    No, they have no right to violate the 1st Amendment. The officer needs to be suspended without pay for being an idiot. School officials need reprimanded and forced to go to classes on the Constitution and Bill of Rights. And parents should file a class action law suit to stop these unconstitutional lib idiots!!! Oh.. you might have gathered, I’m getting pretty upset with this stupid idiocy in our country. QUIT VIOLATING OUR RIGHTS YOU EDUCATED IDIOTS!!!!

    • Mark S McKinney

      And yes the word idiot fits perfectly as they are not thinking correctly!

    • Glen Clark

      although i agree in part with your statement, i wouldnt run around throwing the word “educated” as a pejorative. Kinda throws your credibility into the “ignore the crazy person” zone. A class action lawsuit is a suit in which there are many many people involved suing one entity for the same infraction, one kid cannot file a class action law suit, Look, i get it, this kid was making a political statement, i guess, that you agree with and he was forced by the school to dial that down through a suspension. That is wrong. Totally wrong. I’m on your side even if i didnt agree with his statement. You have to understand though, shouting in all caps and demanding “Libs” stop disagreeing with you, and mumbling basic nonsense fropm low amounts of information does not help your cause. Think before typing.

  • needful

    with teachers like this is there any question why the kids are coming out of school like idiots!!!!!!!!!!

    • chocopot

      Not to mention with no idea what the Constitution is or contains – and finally, hating this country.

  • bern1228

    Utterly ridiculous. Too much power and authority in the hands of the mindless few.
    Where is the ACLU? Will the NRA prosecute on Jared’s behalf. This is where gun rights organizations need to get involved and show support. I bet they let all sorts of gang related hip-hop dress styles go on without a squeak.

  • Pat

    Another obamanation

  • huntingfinatic

    I would be embarrassed if I was that teacher. I would think that attorneys would be lining up on this case. I can’t imagine the NRA not sponsoring a legal defense on this one.

  • Dale L Burgess

    Fire the teacher along with the police officers who should know the constitution!

  • jeremy

    Fight the good fight young man! Don’t let your rights be trampled on! So we’ve come down to throwing the book at an EIGHTH GRADER OVER A T SHIRT! Wow. Go ahead and try to prosecute a minor over this. This should disgust every American. What would half of these lawmakers and school officials have been arrested for if this happened when they were in school. Maybe they’d like to desecrate a flag or slap a soldier when they get home. They have that right just like this young man does. It’s called the constitution!

  • Tom Nelson

    Yes they violated His Rights the school the teacher and the LEO all apologize to Jared and his parents the teacher and the principal need to put on Admin leave with out pay and forced to join or donate a day’s pay and forced to wear a NRA or any pro gun rights shirt to school for a week

  • Brent Ostwald

    I agree with McKinney and others. If a teacher,principal, superintendent or law enforcement officer can’t understand the bill of rights or the reason why we have those amendments, maybe it’s time they go back to school. A little history about Sir William Blackstone who wrote “Commentaries on English Law” in 1769 and had a huge influence on our 2nd Amendment framers of the Constitution would serve those folks well also. According to Wikipedia ’13, Blackstone is still cited 10-12 times a year at the US Supreme Court level.

    • RT72

      But the authorities were only following the rules or orders. /sarcasm off. The rules and training from on high, wherever the bureaucracy is, leaves no room for rational thought.

  • James Richardson

    Don’t much care what the school says it is time to get some people trained/ educated. Most states have what is called Police Officers Standards and TRAINING. A CANDIDATE CANNOT wear a badge or carry a gun until they successfully pass the course. No more smokey and the bandit. If a person talking obstructs an officers ability to perform his duties he should turn his badge in. The state attorney should investigate the police department also set standards to be used by the school system. If the PD does not have a valid and current training manual also personnel training folders then close them down until they can prove their proficiency.
    This a shameful situation. Jumper

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