In 2013 officials at Canyon High School in Anaheim Hills, California, were offended by an NRA T-shirt that included a photograph of a hunter holding a rifle. They said it violated a ban on clothing that "promotes or depicts" violence. Last fall the principal and vice principal of Dexter McCarty Middle School in Gresham, Oregon, took a similar view of a troop-supporting T-shirt that included a drawing of a rifle next to the slogan "Standing for Those Who Stood for Us." Last week, moving even further away from actual weapons, officials at George Junior High School in Rosenberg, Texas, made a seventh-grader cover up his Star Wars: The Force Awakens T-shirt because it depicted an Imperial Stormtrooper holding a blaster rifle, which in their view violated a rule against "symbols oriented toward violence."
KTRK, the ABC station in Houston, reports that seventh-grader Colton Southern had worn the shirt to school several times without objection before attracting the attention of censorious administrators last Thursday. Attempting an explanation, The Washington Post notes that "the incident comes at a time when schools across the country are on high alert because of a spate of mass shootings." The Post neglects to point out that none of those shootings involved blaster rifles, which do not actually exist.
"Administrators say they did not reprimand the student, though they could have required him to change or assigned him in-school suspension," KTRK reports. They only made him zip up his jacket so no one could see the offending image.
"It's political correctness run amok," Colton's father, Joe Southern, told KTRK. "You're talking about a Star Wars T-shirt, a week before the biggest movie of the year comes out. It has nothing to do with guns or making a stand. It's just a Star Wars shirt." Southern added that his son is not exactly a troublemaker: "He's a Boy Scout, active in church, volunteers at Brazos Bend State Park. There's not a violent bone in his body. He's just an excited kid for the movie."
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