A 17-year-old high school student in Illinois was sent home last week after administrators claimed his hunting sweatshirt violated the school’s dress code policy.
Clinton Boyer, who wore the rifle-clad sweatshirt featuring the phrase “I’ll stop hunting when they pry the gun from my cold dead hands,” was sent to the principal’s office after a teacher took offense to the imagery.
“They told me if I don’t take the sweater off or turn it inside out, I would be sent home,” the junior told Sauk Valley News.
Clinton, who refused to remove the sweatshirt, argued that the school’s dress code handbook included no mention of clothing featuring images of firearms.
“I refused to take it off, because it wasn’t against the rules,” Clinton said. “I could have went home, changed the sweater and came back, but I was so mad, I knew I wasn’t coming back.”
Upon inspection of the student handbook, Clinton’s father, Derrick, noted that students were only barred from wearing clothing with violent, lewd, obscene, offensive or vulgar language or symbols.
“The rule book does not state anything about a picture of a gun,” Derrick said.
Two days after the incident, school administrators confronted Clinton again – this time to admit their fault.
“I came to school Wednesday and they told me I could wear the sweater, after all,” Clinton said. “They told me it’s not against the rules and I could wear it.”
Derrick states that if the school were to have upheld the punishment he would have undoubtedly involved Second Amendment and hunting advocacy groups in the incident.
“I’m a big advocate of Second Amendment rights and hunting rights. I felt they were violating his rights,” the boy’s father said. “I would have contacted the National Rifle Association or the Illinois State Rifle Association.”
While noting the need for addressing potential violence, Derrick added that school administrators could have handled the situation better.
“He was raised in a house that hunts. It’s a father-son thing we have been doing forever,” Derrick said.
“I understand the whole violence at schools and how it needs to be addressed, but this has nothing to do with gun violence. Hunting is a sport, just like any other sport. That’s how it needs to be taken, not that he is bringing a gun to school.”
Countless other schools across the nation have targeted students for wearing pro-Second Amendment attire as well, with one 14-year-old student being threatened with a year in jail for refusing to remove his shirt in 2013.
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