Student suspended despite no rules against firearms shirts

Mikael Thalen
March 12, 2014

A high school student in Grand Island, N.Y. received a one day in-school suspension this week after refusing to turn his National Rifle Association t-shirt inside out.

Shane Kinney, a 16-year-old sophomore at Grand Island High School, was confronted Tuesday after a teacher claimed his shirt was an “inappropriate” violation of the school’s dress code.

“It’s the same shirt he’s worn before, but this time they said something about it,” Shane’s father, Wayne Kinney, told WGRZ-TV.

Although the school’s dress code makes no mention of political or firearm related attire, school administrators argued that Kinney’s shirt had the ability to “disrupt or interfere with the educational process.”

“They said it was the guns,” Shane’s father said.

According to Kinney, who is an NRA member along with his parents, fellow students have done nothing but compliment him on the shirt.

“They haven’t said anything bad about it, although they don’t hunt,” Kinney told WBEN Radio. “The only people giving me trouble were teachers.”

After being ordered to turn the shirt inside out by the school’s principal, Kinney refused, citing his support for the organization and his constitutional rights.

“He said he’d rather not turn it inside out,” Shane’s father said.

The school’s principal immediately suspended Kinney, pointing to a different rule in the dress code that states, “Any student who refuses to do so or who… fails to comply shall be subject to discipline.”

Shane’s mother, who works at Grand Island High, argued against other claims including the possibility that her son’s shirt could encourage “violent activities,” also listed in the school’s dress code.

“Just by wearing the shirt, yes it has guns on it, but it doesn’t mean you are for any kind of violence,” Kim Kinney said.

While Kinney’s parents plan to speak with the principal regarding the suspension, they also noted that they believed their son should no longer wear the shirt during school hours.

“Shane will probably not wear shirts like this to school anymore,” Kinney’s mother said. “He can hold firmly to his beliefs but for those 7 hours a day, five days a week he’s in school, you have to kind of follow their rules like it or not. But he’ll move on, he’ll graduate, and probably serve our country and wear lots of shirts like that,” she said.

Kinney’s treatment is representative of the increasing discrimination against gun owners, who despite being the majority, are continually targeted for their support of the First and Second Amendment.

Just last year, a middle school student in West Virginia refused to remove a similar NRA shirt as well. The student, 14-year-old Jared Marcum, was almost sentenced to a year in jail for “obstructing an officer” after police claimed he was overly-talkative during his arrest.

Despite gun crime being at a 20-year low, the hysteria created by anti-Second Amendment groups has only intensified. Luckily for Americans, facts and logic continue to be more desirable.

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