Make T-Shirts Great Again: WI Freshman Sues Principal Over Gun Shirt Ban

Who says kids today are a disappointing bunch of soft, overly-entitled, delicate snowflakes? Well, maybe some of them are. But they grow ’em tougher in Wisconsin.

Matthew Schoenecker likes guns and T-shirts showing guns. But when the freshman wears the latter to Markesan High School, he is told to change, cover them, or spend the day in an isolated cubicle.

So he’s exercising some other rights to defend what he calls his First Amendment right to support the Second Amendment — he sued the principal in federal court.

There’s no better way to study civics and the glories of our vaunted judicial system that by getting up close and personal, right?

The suit, filed Monday in Milwaukee, names principal John Koopman as the sole defendant. It claims Koopman violated Schoenecker’s freedom of expression by restricting him from wearing shirts that depict guns and other weapons in “a non-violent, non-threatening manner,”

And there’s this:

The suit also contends that Koopman’s personal, case-by-case determination of which shirts are “inappropriate” violates Schoenecker’s rights to due process.

In other words, Koopman’s standards for what flies and what doesn’t in the halls of Markesan High are subjective, arbitrary and capriciously enforced. A judge just might take a dim view of that.

While there are no explicit school rules against T-shirts featuring guns, at a meeting last month with Schoenecker and his parents, Koopman explained that he has discretion to restrict clothing at school he deems inappropriate.

Again, good luck with that. Would Mr. Koopman corral a young skull full of mush who shows up for first period French wearing a Moms Demand Action t-shirt?

We’re not attorneys (and actively avoid them at all costs) so who knows if young Master Schoenecker’s suit has a snowball’s chance in hell of going anywhere? But if he were to put up a GoFundMe page to cover his legal expenses, we’d happily toss a Jackson his way.

 

comments

  1. avatar Sam I Am says:

    I “audited” a high school senior class a few years back.

    I would prefer an isolated cubicle.

    1. avatar Matty 9 says:

      True story, public schools are a mass of unwashed cretins.

  2. avatar Rad Man says:

    If our subject yoot was wearing a MDA shirt I’m sure the principal would have asked for one of his own.

  3. avatar Anymouse says:

    There have been rulings that students don’t have free speech in schools. The subjective, arbitrary, and capricious enforcement is an interesting twist.

    1. avatar Felix says:

      Yes, it will be an interesting debate. Prohibitions based on content are clear violations of current Supreme Court guidance, and city after county after state continually get retaught that lesson. So the principle ought to lose in summary judgment. But as Anymouse says, current Supreme Court guidance also gives schools considerable leeway in violating student rights.

    2. avatar Pat H says:

      Actually, the Supreme Court has ruled that you do have a right to free expression at public school, as long as you are not disrupting the educational process.

      I can’t imagine how these shirts are disruptive.

      1. avatar neiowa says:

        But according to a recent news story, the MSM has determined that a high school girl displaying her highbeams is her “right’ and to not be disruptive to the classroom. Because HS boys today would not notice?

        1. avatar Matty 9 says:

          That’s the most disruptive thing IN High school. I remember a LOT MORE high beams than I do about Shakespear!! School should be seperated by gender, test scores would skyrocket

        2. avatar Scoutino says:

          That’s practically impossible. Separate school for each gender? How can we have 148 (or is it more?) different schools?

  4. avatar former water walker says:

    Good luck kid. You’ll need it. HS kids basically have no rights(despite what Hoggboy and buzzgirl think). When I was a lad they certainly had a dress code-much worse in late 1960’s Jr. High. And they still bea… er paddled errant children. Good old daze…

  5. avatar Rand says:

    Where do I buy the tshirts?

    1. avatar Jon in CO says:

      If you’re willing to fork out the cash, Forgedfromfreedom.com has some pretty awesome stuff. I think it’s a bit overpriced for standard cotton print, but the graphics are hilarious nonetheless.

      Endoapparel has awesome, more subtle shirts. People who know what they’re looking at will like them a lot more than the standard non-gun person.

      1. avatar Jim Bullock says:

        NOTE FOR OUR NEW OVERLORDS…

        Look at that interest in the swag.

        Ads or a referral cut of any sales would bring in some money … and not involve full page pop up ads shilling body part augmentation.

        How to do that and maintain some form of editorial integrity, I don’t exactly know. The test kitchen-like users’ perspective sets TTAG off from the industry rags.

        I do know – get your ad revenue from some moral preening Zuckerbots, n you’re beholden to them. Lots of “content” folk who built their “businesses” on referrals.n click-tbroughs from TwitGoogBook n their ad networks are finding that out.

  6. avatar Winterborne says:

    And they’re sold out of my size. Of course. 😦

    1. avatar tickTalk says:

      Ha! they don’t even make my size…

      1. avatar Ing says:

        Where’s diversity when you really need it?

  7. avatar FedUp says:

    Probably offended the Principal’s religious beliefs by blaspheming progressive slogans like ‘celebrate diversity’. Principal needs to be taught that we’re allowed to insult every religion except Islam in this country.

    A judge just might take a dim view of that.
    …a judge who doesn’t arbitrarily share Koopman’s political views might…

  8. avatar ATTAGReader says:

    High schools are workplaces. The kids are there to work. Or should be. Or used to be. Many workplaces ban all logo’d t-shirts. Our child’s high school went to that rule. Solid colors only excluding specific gang colors. No more Big Johnson’s and no more Fugly Moms Who Can’t Get Any Still Demand Action. Much better policy. But if that high school allows the Fugly Moms t-shirt, they sure had better allow this kid to wear his.

    1. avatar Jon in CO says:

      I agree with the premise that they are there to learn/work, however, they are not employees. If anything, they are employers, being tax payers. (Parents). I think people should do and wear whatever makes them happy, and F everyone who doesn’t like it. Don’t like it, don’t look at it. This notion of equality and equal playing fields doesn’t exist, and forcing people to do things they don’t want to do or suffer punishment is downright fascist

      In a perfect world, parents would take complete responsibility for, care for, feed, nurture, encourage, and teach their own damn kids. Passing your kid off to others and then complaining about how those teachers give them bad information, force them to walk out in favor of gun control, and brainwash them completely in all aspects of PC culture is irresponsible.

      The public education system is a joke at best, and a massive failure and brainwashing scam at worst. The fact that we openly, and graciously PAY these people to do this bothers me.

      1. avatar drunkEODguy says:

        I understand where you and all the other homeschool proponents are coming from, but the reality is most American households are two income out of necessity. If your situation allows you to live off a single income, that’s outstanding and homeschooling is certainly viable and desirable. For most though it’s not really an option. Instead, I encourage people to look into Montessori style schools, especially those requiring a minimum score on entrance exams or the like. My experiences have been good.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Where your treasure is, so your heart is also.

          Sometimes you gotta make harder decisions than you would like.

          Wife and I were full time employed during the schooling years. We decided to move to a neighborhood with an affordable parochial school. Between the early years, and funding college directly for three sons, we had no savings, we took no vacations, we bought food on sale at a “bag it and beat it”. We missed almost all the school functions and sporting events, relying on other parents from the parochial school. We had to make hard decisions.

          Later, one of our in laws retired on a teacher’s pension from a rural school district. Money became tight. Wife and I worked hard to help the woman develop a supplemental income. The woman ended up being designated driver for her married children’s offspring; no time for increasing income. The woman and her husband are living purely off pensions (no soc sec), and often forego food for meds. When pressed to pursue supplemental income, both grandparents decided it was more important to spend “as much time with the grandchildren as possible”, even if the couple remained near destitute. They made hard decisions.

          A cousin and wife decided to send their children to public schools because they, and the children, wanted all that “socialization” the makes home schooled and parochial students stunted in their maturation. Neither one would give up a job because they wanted to pursue their career goals. They made the decision that careers were more important than providing a serviceable education for their four kids. They made a decision that is already causing them more than they gained. They made a decision to benefit themselves over the children. They made hard results.

  9. avatar DDay says:

    This current SCOTUS case isn’t exactly on point but it’s somewhat similar. It’s a case out of MN on their state law banning “political wear” at the polls by voters. The argument in front of SCOTUS was a month ago and quite interesting. Gorsuch really had the attorney representing MN on the ropes. It’s VERY dicey when gov’t (like this kids school) picks and chooses what’s “offensive” or political, etc.

    https://www.twincities.com/2018/02/19/high-court-asked-to-iron-out-polling-place-clothing-dispute/

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      It obviously is totally unpredictable in what directing the gov;t school will lean with their political dictates.

  10. avatar Rickster A-15 says:

    Matthew should come up with a good design for a print. Set up shop. Capitalize on his t shirt idea. Its the American way. Get all his schoolmates to wear one on the same day !! Use an Ar-15 for the print. I would buy one.

  11. avatar rt66paul says:

    If the principal wants to he can purchase uniforms for the students – normal school uniforms made by nationwide clothiers and clean them like a workman’s uniform service does.
    As long as he can keep up with proper sizes for ALL of his students, maybe he can get away with that BS.
    Until then, MYOB.

  12. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    I remember when they tried to ban “I’m gay” T shirts in high schools. The ACLU ran to defend them. They Banned american flag T shirts in a California high school. The ACLU didn’t support those T shirts. I gave up on the three L’s, Libertarians, Liberals, and the Left, supporting the 1st amendment a very long time ago.

    The T shirt battle is a distraction. People should be fighting for rifle teams and 2A history and education in schools.

  13. avatar Paul m says:

    Just keep wearing them every day. As well as many other students that will. Force the issue. The left hates and can’t defend against determined opposition.

  14. avatar Shallnot BeInfringed says:

    who knows if young Master Schoenecker’s suit has a snowball’s chance in hell of going anywhere?

    As soon as I read that John Monroe had taken the case, I breathed a sigh of relief and contentment. He would never have taken the case if he wasn’t reasonably sure he could win it… and win big. That’s what Monroe does.

  15. avatar ironicatbest says:

    You may wear anything you want as long as it’s the same as the rest

  16. avatar Adam says:

    I went to a Catholic school so the idea of any freedom or “rights” in school is foreign to me. T-shirts in school? If I didn’t have my tie knotted and my dress shirt ironed to perfection I would get smacked with a ruler by a pissed off nun (We all just though they needed to get laid).

  17. avatar Wiregrass says:

    It will be a good case if he has photographic evidence of other students wearing shirts with messaging commonly considered controversial and/or offensive wandering the halls. The Indoctrination Centers have been getting away with this for far too long.

  18. avatar million says:

    Couple relevant cases..

    1. TINKER ET AL. v. DES MOINES INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT ET AL.
    February 24, 1969

    students were disciplined for wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. SCOTUS held that students retain their free speech rights at school unless their speech causes substantial disruption of the educational process or interference with school activities, or might reasonably be expected to based on the facts.

    2. DEBORAH MORSE, et al., PETITIONERS v. JOSEPH FREDERICK
    June 25, 2007

    SCOTUS backtracked recently with Morse vs Frederick when they found that school authorities were within their rights to discipline a student for flying a “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” banner at a school-sanctioned event because the banner promoted illegal drug use in violation of school policy.

    So, it seems like the current case hinges on existing school policy or whether it disrupted school. I haven’t seen anything that allows censorship based on the capricious whim of a pants-wetting principal.

  19. avatar KTR says:

    The way you resolve all of these issues with dress code violations and interpretation is you have a standardized dress code for all students and leave very little choice.

    Khaki pants, shorts or skirt

    Blue, green or white polo style shirts (with no pocket)

    White athletic shoes with white socks.

    That’ll either make everyone happy or pissed off.

    🙂

  20. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

    “We’re not attorneys (and actively avoid them at all costs).” Well, you sure sound like one: “subjective, arbitrary and capricious.”

    P.S. I can’t subscribe to comments, again. I’m not fixing it this time.

  21. avatar NAC says:

    Here is the issue the Amendments where to limit Government be it Federal, State, County, City, or any town.

    Publice schools are apart of the local government! A police officer can not come up to you on the street and tell you that you can be punished for having a shirt! The same goes for a teacher both are part of your local government!

    My son in his last high school would not allow them to search his backpack. He asked to see there warrant for there search as stated under the 4Th Amendment as pubic schools are apart of the government and must take the same actions as law enforcement on a search.

    He did not allow them to search his backpack and called me when I arrive I asked what right did they have to search his backpack? They told me they did it to everyone. I asked the security and the teacher who searched through there belongings? They said they did not have to be searched. When I asked why I was told that “They did not have the right to!” I said yes your right about that but what right do you have to search his backpack? He is covered under the same Laws and Amendments as you and I so why are you so special that you can infringe on my son’s Amendment rights yet have the gull to stand there and tell me about your Amendment rights?

    Talked with the superintendent that day and told her that if my son was ever searched with out proper cause or without a warrant I’d sue the school and district under 4th Amendment! She tried to tell me that I could not do that and that’s when I gave her the speech about how public schools are apart of the local government and the Amendments where put in place for the government that they received there money from!

    Know the law people know your rights! Schools are not teaching it for a long time why they teach the civil war was about slavery not the 10th Amendment! I only learned it from being a police officer and learning the law and seeing as apart of the government how easy for me to screw with your Amendment rights!

    Go out and buy a pocket Constitution read it and understand it! If you love the story of our founders like I do go to https://www.mikechurch.com/shop/

    Get the audio books and enjoy them and they story behind why this country and our Constitution is so great hear wise men talk about the problems they saw later in life of this country that are affecting us now!

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      The person describing “unwarranted” searching of backpacks must be a full on three ring circus at an airport.

  22. avatar Jason A Somers says:

    No vulgar language or images were used so I don’t really see how anyone could argue the shirt could death and destruction. Wear an anti abortion shirt with stats on it compared to gun deaths over the years. If children can walk out of a school then why can’t he walk the halls with a few of his favorite things on his shirt.

  23. avatar Kap says:

    Funny when time fly’s, Employees of the Nanny Government want to illegally take your rights away because they say so, lip service safety, now they can blow their own horns and inflate their Egos’ by saying I did something to provide for the safety of insecure lives! usually they are the first one to seek cover in an altercation!
    Back in the day Many moons ago when in high School, Our Principle was a retired Master Sergent from the Corps. One tough SOB, used to inspect our hunting rifles and Shotguns when we brought them to school! and gave cleaning tips! that was then! now you get these panty’s twisted in a knot types from god knows where who never fired a rifle, shotgun or Pistol of any type, imposing a personnel dress code on a printing ! fire this clown . NON Sibbi Sed Patraie

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