Teacher Violated Student’s Freedom to Wear NRA Shirt
The mother of a 15-year-old student in California says her daughter’s freedom of expression was violated when a history teacher targeted her and another student for wearing t-shirts supporting the NRA, CBS13 reported.
Charlene Craig said the teen was singled out in class at Lodi High School on Aug. 3 by her teacher, who then lectured her in front of the class on why guns are bad. He then sent the other student to the principal’s office for refusing to remove their shirt, citing a violation of school policy.
Craig said that the teacher is at school to teach, not to discuss his personal beliefs.
“She was basically being attacked in class,” she told CBS13.
“He basically yelled at her, told her, that she would be writing an essay if she disagreed with him,” said Craig.
Lodi High School has a dress code stating that students are not allowed to wear clothing or jewelry that depicts weapons. Craig’s daughter wore a black shirt with a small NRA logo on the front and an American flag made up of shell casings with the words “National Rife Association” at the back.
Lodi Unified School District Spokeswoman Chelsea Vongehr said that “the school administration reviewed the t-shirt in question and determined that it did not violate school dress code policy.”
“The student was promptly returned to class and the school administration contacted the family to apologize,” Vongehr told The Washington Post.
The NRA responded to the incident on Twitter.
“YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: Two
#California teenagers were harassed by their anti- #gun history teacher last week. How would you handle the situation if this were your child’s school? #NRA #2A #DefendtheSecond.”
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: Two #California teenagers were harassed by their anti-#gun history teacher last week. How would you handle the situation if this were your child’s school? #NRA #2A #DefendtheSecond https://t.co/6YE6MCFZuF
— NRA (@NRA) August 7, 2018
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Tinker vs Des Moines (1969) protects a student’s right to the First Amendment in public schools and school authorities aren’t legally allowed to censor that right unless it disrupts the educational process.
The law came about after Mary Beth Tinker and two other students wore black armbands to protest the Vietnam war in 1965, they were suspended from a high school in Des Moines, Iowa, until they came back without the armbands. Since then, Tinker vs Des Moines became the precedent for a student’s freedom of expression. The Court ruled that Tinker’s black armband wasn’t considered disruptive and has protected students’ right to the First Amendment ever since.