CUDAHY, Wis. – The list of all-too-frequent confrontations between school administrators and students over gun-wear just got a little longer.
Cudahy High School junior Colton Heberling was recently confronted in the hallway at school by the dean of students. Colton was wearing a shirt with a picture of two large revolvers pointing downward and the words “Respect” and “Smith & Wesson,” his father tells EAGnews.
It turns out his dad is a gunsmith and he receives numerous shirts from manufacturers and suppliers advertising firearms.
The administrator, Phil Martell, told Colton his shirt was inappropriate because it had to do “with drugs, porn and alcohol.”
This was not the first time Colton had worn such clothing. He’s worn shirts promoting the 2nd Amendment, and Winchester and Remington firearm shirts and there was never a problem.
But this time there was. He was told he had to turn the shirt inside out or go home. Instead, Colton contacted his dad, Tiger, who took time off from work to go to the school and confront the principal, Christopher Haeger. The discussion did not go well. He told Heberling the same thing; Colton would have to take the shirt off.
Heberling told the principal, “No, he’s not taking the shirt off. It has nothing to do with what’s offensive at all.”
Cudahy’s dress code does not permit hoods, midriffs, spaghetti straps, halter tops, jackets, low-riding pants, pajamas and clothing with obscene, profane, pornographic images, or things representing a clear and present danger of illegal behavior, or disparaging, or demeaning messages and so forth. There is nothing about pictures of guns themselves in the dress code.
There is an addendum, however. The code says that it “is subject to administrative discretion.”
Heberling said the principal referred to the shirt as a “weapon” and he said “no, it’s not.”
At that point Haeger reportedly ended the discussion by saying, “We’re done here.”
Heberling pointed out that there’s nothing in the school’s dress code about pictures of guns on clothes but pointed out that a girl just walked by with a midriff, which does violate the dress code. He said Haeger just shrugged that off and repeated, “We’re done here.”
Believing it was important to stick up for his son’s rights, he took Colton home and his school record will show that he was suspended for half a day.
This is not an isolated occurrence. This happens all the time at schools across the nation. Here are just a few headlines:
– New York high school student suspended for NRA pro-2nd Amendment T-shirt
– California: High School that banned NRA T-shirt backs down
– Illinois teacher threatens middle school student with suspension for wearing pro-Marines T-shirt with crossed rifles
– WV student Jared Marcum faces jail time over NRA T-shirt
– NRA and 2nd Amendment not welcome in public schools
– School bans national guard T-shirts because of 2nd Amendment image
– CA high school sophomore’s NRA shirt ‘promotes gun violence’
– Kid arrested for wearing NRA shirt with a gun on it to school
– Student told to remove USMC T-shirt showing crossed rifles or face suspension
– 8th grade student arrested afor wearing NRA T-shirt
Arrested for wearing a T-shirt promoting a well-known, legal organization that promotes gun rights, the 2nd Amendment and safety!?
And there are myriad other headlines we could have displayed. And there’s no indication these confrontations will be going away anytime soon.
There are undoubtedly many students who comply with the demands of administrators by removing or turning shirts depicting guns or gun organizations or the military inside out. But many students are obviously torn between obeying anti-gun, anti-military school officials or sticking up for their freedom of speech and for what they know is legal and right.
Colton will return to school and his dad says that it will be up to him to decide if he will wear clothing depicting guns. He’s afraid the teachers will be ‘gunning’ for him to see if he’s wearing clothing that has anything to do with firearms.
And Heberling says if something like this happens again, he won’t hesitate to get legal help to defend his son.
h/t Vicki McKenna