In April, eighth-grader Jared Marcum was arrested for refusing to change a T-shirt with the National Rifle Association logo, a picture of a rifle, and the words “Protect Your Right.” The 14-year-old now faces a possible $500 fine . . . and up to a year in prison.
Jared had bean wearing the shirt in the cafeteria when a teacher demanded he either change it or reverse it. He refused and was sent to “the office,” where he again refused. And then a police officer was called in.
According to press accounts, when Jared was sent to the principal’s office, he went. Doesn’t sound like he posed a threat to anybody. Why was the cop called in?
Jared did nothing to “obstruct” the officer — the charge that may send him to prison — except reportedly continue talking when asked to stop. If so, sounds like poor judgment, given the power over us that police have. Maybe it would be good for Jared not to remain 14 years old indefinitely. He will probably grow older even if not sent to prison, however.
What the whole controversy comes down to is this: The kid peaceably displayed a pro-rights sentiment which a particular teacher happened to dislike. Logan County Schools’ dress code doesn’t prohibit references to the Bill of Rights — indeed, it doesn’t prohibit messages on clothing unless they contain “profanity, violence, discriminatory messages or sexually suggestive phrases.”
One hopes that the school doesn’t regard a defense of the Second Amendment as “violent,” and therefore worthy of prohibition.
Nor does wearing a pro-NRA shirt deserve the threat of a year in prison.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.