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The West Virginia eighth-grader who was suspended and, astonishingly, arrested last week after he refused to remove a t-shirt supporting the National Rifle Association returned to school on Monday.
In a move The Daily Caller can only characterize as courageous, 14-year-old Jared Marcum returned to Logan Middle School in Logan County, West Va., wearing exactly the same shirt, which depicts a hunting rifle with the statement “protect your right.”
According to Fox News, other students across the rural county showed their support for Marcum by wearing similar shirts to school.
“There’s a lot of people wearing this same exact shirt, showing great, great support and I really appreciate it,” Marcum said in the morning outside the schoolhouse door, according to local NCB affiliate WBOY-TV.
Marcum’s attorney, Ben White, said that school officials are sticking by the eighth-grader’s one-day suspension because, they say, he caused a disruption.
“Their version is that the suspension was for disrupting the educational process, not the shirt,” White told Fox News.
White has called the school’s position into question. He asserts that his client was exercising his free speech rights. As ABC News reports, Marcum’s version of events is that he had worn the shirt for several hours without incident.
At lunchtime, Marcum maintains, a teacher confronted him about the shirt. When Marcum said he would not take off the shirt or turn it inside out, the teacher began yelling, which caused a cafeteria scene.
“I believe the teacher was acting beyond the scope of his employment,” White told ABC. “What the video shows is that students did step up on the benches to the tables in the lunchroom when they were escorting Jared out of building. Kids jumped up, clapping.”
The police chief in Logan City (pop. 1,779) said that Marcum was arrested for the disruption he caused at school.
“His conduct in school almost incited a riot,” Chief E.K. Harper told ABC.
White added that Marcum wore the shirt to express his support for the Second Amendment. He said the school’s dress code does not forbid such shirts. A straightforward reading of the dress code would seem to bear that interpretation out. The dress code, which is posted online, forbids certain kinds of clothing — for example, messages that support violence, discrimination and alcohol use — but nowhere are constitutional rights mentioned.
Presumably, Marcum and his student supporters were not arrested or suspended for wearing the pro-gun shirts on Monday. However, it’s not entirely clear.
White still expects the charges to be dropped, and he says a civil lawsuit is forthcoming.