Just wearing a t-shirt with a gun on it can get you sent to jail in today’s hysterical antigun climate. That’s what Jared Marcum, a 14-year-old from West Virginia, found out when he wore a t-shirt with the National Rifle Association’s logo and a picture of an assault rifle to school in April.
Marcum wouldn’t take the shirt off even though administrators asked him to several times. The administrators eventually had the boy arrested and charged. News reports indicate that Marcum now faces criminal charges that could land him in jail for up to a year. He’s charged with a crime called “obstructing an officer” (in other words, he talked back to a police officer).
A Blatant Violation of the First Amendment
The school officials’ actions in this case are a blatant violation of the First Amendment. The courts ruled that school officials could not bar students from attending public school wearing clothing that made political statements during the Vietnam War.
What’s even worse is the willingness of the police and prosecutors to go along with such censorship. It’s obvious that Marcum is being punished for his political stand and not for his actions. Somebody didn’t like the statement he made, so the young man is paying the price.
The case demonstrates that gun control advocates have as little respect and tolerance for the First Amendment as they do for the Second Amendment. They want to muzzle any argument that counters theirs. In particular, they don’t want children exposed to any argument that runs counter to their party line.
The really bothersome aspect of the case is the use of police officers and the courts to punish this young man. We should definitely start reconsidering measures to put police in schools because of this case.
School Dress Codes a Threat to Free Speech
This case also demonstrates that school dress codes, which are usually touted as a way to keep gangs and their paraphernalia out of schools, are a threat to free speech. The dress code at the Logan County School District that Marcum attends simply states:
“If in the judgment of the administration, a student is dressed inappropriately, the student will be required to change clothes or cover up inappropriate clothing before returning to classes.”
This gives the principal the right to punish any child who is wearing any clothing he or she does not like. A child that wore a wrestling t-shirt or a shirt with a Bible quote on it could get singled out. Some educators have talked about punishing children that wear clothing that is too expensive to school because it can damage the self-esteem of poorer classmates.
It also gives politically correct busybodies a blank check to punish any child that is expressing or supporting viewpoints that they disagree with, such as gun-control fanatics that don’t want any pro-gun arguments in the public schools.
The dress codes are not about discipline; instead, they are about social and political control. The idea behind the codes is to impose a specific set of values on schoolchildren and punish those kids that don’t confirm.
Marcum’s father told a TV station that his son had not actually violated school policies. Yet that didn’t stop administrators from punishing him or calling the police.
The idea was obviously to make an example of the boy and show his fellow students that dissent would not be tolerated. In other words, the school has replaced discipline with classic communist or fascist indoctrination techniques in which persons who speak out are punished.
As it so happens, the attempt at social control backfired. Dozens of other students showed their support for Marcum and the Constitution by wearing NRA t-shirts to the Logan County Schools.
Is Your Child’s School Next?
The Marcum case might be the start of a disturbing new trend to turn the schools into indoctrination centers for gun-control ideology. That, of course, is classic left-wing political strategy: if you cannot implement your agenda through legislation, promote it through indoctrination, particularly through the schools and the entertainment media.
The schools are a prime target in this strategy because you have a captive audience there. The class room is, of course, the perfect place for indoctrination and for propaganda.
The idea might be to turn the next generation against guns through the classroom. One has to wonder what is next—the banning of action figures or anything related to video games? Will anything that portrays a weapon be banned from the schools, including books? Or is just the NRA that’s going to be singled out.
It’s disturbing that this happened in a conservative state with a strong commitment to the Second Amendment like West Virginia. If this is what’s happening in West Virginia, one has to wonder what is going on in historically liberal states like California and New York.
What happens when the community won’t support the child’s right? After all, a 14-year-old cannot be expected to stand up to school administrators and the police without help from adults.
What Parents Can Do
This case shows that it would be a good idea to take a look at the dress code and other disciplinary policies at your children’s schools. Look to see what is banned and what is allowed and how the policies are enforced. Ask your children exactly how teachers and administrators implement the policies and enforce them. Don’t just take the administrators’ word on it.
If you find out something you don’t like is going on, take the matter up with the school board. The school board is elected, and its members will listen to voters. Let administrators and school boards know that you want school policies to be about discipline not indoctrination.
Parents need to watch their children’s schools carefully because it looks like a major nationwide gun-control indoctrination effort is beginning in the nation’s education system. It may not be long before this effort reaches your child’s school and starts targeting those kids whose parents support the Second Amendment.