Back in April, Logan Middle School in West Virginia found itself at the center of controversy when it suspended Jared Marcum, called the police, and had the eighth grader arrested. The teen's crime? Wearing a t-shirt that had a picture of a rifle and text that said, "NRA: Protect your right."
The teenager, who has no previous criminal record, went before a judge last week. He was officially charged with obstructing an officer, which carries a potential penalty of a $500 fine and up to one year in jail. WOWKTV reports:
We obtained official court documents from both sides of this case. On one hand, he arresting officer from the Logan City Police Department, James Adkins, claims that when Jared refused to stop talking, that hindered his ability to do his job, hence, the obstruction charge. On the other side, Ben White points out that nowhere in the arresting officer's petition, does it mention Jared ever making any threats or acting in a violent manner.
"Jared didn't do anything wrong," his lawyer said. "Officer Adkins could have done something differently," he added. The boy's stepfather, Allen Lardieiri, expressed his disbelief that the situation ever progressed this far. He said, "I don't' see how anybody would have an issue with a hunting rifle and NRA put on a t-shirt, especially when policy doesn't forbid it."
Marcum insists that at the core of his legal trouble is a fight for constitutional rights. "What they're doing is trying to take away my rights, my freedom of speech and my second amendment," Marcum said after being arrested. Lardieri stood by statement, reiterating that "what happened here in Logan can reverberate outside of Logan. This isn't over and neither are our rights."
The Logan County Board of Education's dress code can be found here. Although the school system forbids "clothing and accessories that display profanity, violence, discriminatory messages or sexually suggestive phrases" as well as advertisements for any alcohol, tobacco, or drug product," there is no mention of firearms of any kind or the NRA.