First Amendment

Teen, 14, arrested after refusing to remove NRA T-shirt

A West Virginia middle school student was arrested and pulled from school Thursday, accused of creating a disruption after he refused a teacher’s demand that he remove a T-shirt that displayed the logo of the National Rifle Association and a rifle.

Jared Marcum, 14, his stepfather and lawyer maintain the shirt didn’t violate the school’s dress code policy.

“I was surprised. It shocked me that the school didn’t know their own dress code and their own policy. I figured they would have known not to call me out on that shirt because there was nothing wrong with it,” Marcum said, according to an Associated Press account of the arrest.

The teen’s stepfather said Marcum was waiting in line at the school cafeteria when a teacher ordered him to remove the shirt or turn it inside out. Marcum refused and was sent to the school office. After declining to remove it again, police were called.

AP reported that Police charged Marcum with disrupting an educational process and obstructing an officer. But on Monday, the juvenile prosecuting attorney told WOWK TV that charges have not yet been filed and an investigation is underway. The teen was suspended for one day, but was back in school on Monday.

The Associated Press noted the Logan County School dress code, which prohibits clothing and accessories that display profanity, violence, discriminatory messages or sexually suggestive phrases. Also prohibited is clothing displaying advertisements for any alcohol, tobacco, or drug product.

Marcum’s lawyer, Ben White, has asked the school to preserve surveillance video of the cafeteria.

Hat tip: Jonathan Turley

Last updated at 11:25 a.m. to add additional information from the juvenile prosecutor.

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