A Chicago high school senior who refused to remove a t-shirt bearing an image of a gun, and then fought the school board when he was suspended, has won a decisive victory.
The Hinsdale Township High School District has opted to lift the suspension of 18-year-old Chris Borg who stood before school officials this week to argue that his First Amendment rights had been infringed by the school’s actions.
The T-shirt (seen below) that Borg wore has a silhouette of gun on the back, and contains the phrase “TeamAK”. It also bears a website url for a Kentucky armory club that supports gun rights.
Last week, school officials ordered Borg to either turn the shirt inside out, wear a different shirt, or be suspended for a day because the t-shirt was deemed to be “unsafe” and “disruptive”. Borg refused to comply with the order and opted for the suspension.
After originally stating that they would not consider investigating the suspension, school officials said that the district has “changed its mind about the rectitude” of the suspension following Borg’s appearance before the district panel.
The suspension will now be rescinded and struck from the record.
“I’m ecstatic,” Borg told the Chicago Tribune. “I’m happy. I wasn’t trying to push buttons or be provocative. I was just trying to assert my First Amendment rights.”
The school’s superintendent, Bruce Law, noted that in future the district will make more effort to investigate the imagery on any clothing that officials flag up before moving directly to disciplinary action, admitting that Borg’s t-shirt does not promote violence or illegal activity.
“A lawful activity like a gun club or a military institution is different than an unlawful activity that promotes violence,” Law said.
“If you had a T-shirt promoting a guitar club you’d have guitar on it,” he added.
Borg’s case is not unique. Several students have been suspended from schools around the country for wearing t-shirts depicting guns. The crack down on such images is part of a blanket zero tolerance policy that seeks to censor anything that can be remotely related to weapons.
In a similar case settled last month, Shane Kinney, a sophomore at Grand Island High School in New York also succeeded in getting a suspension reversed after he refused to remove his NRA t-shirt.
The fact is that school officials have no authority to ban pro-Second amendment images on clothing, or even merely images of guns, because it is a clear infringement on Constitutional rights to do so.
Critics and lawmakers continue to argue that the zero tolerance policy goes too far too often and is negatively and unnecessarily impeding the education of students who have found themselves under its microscope.
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.