G.M. is a student at Kendyl Depoali Middle School in Reno, Nevada, and the unidentified yoot has found himself in trouble recently for his pro-gun attire. The school, part of the Washoe County School District has a strict, broad no-weapons dress code. Because guns.
As asumag.com reports,
The boy was disciplined twice for wearing pro-gun clothing, according to the lawsuit.
He was first disciplined in November 2017 for wearing a shirt from a local gun store. That shirt depicted the store’s logo, which shows the silhouettes of a rifle and handgun.
He was again disciplined on March 12 for wearing a shirt promoting the Firearms Policy Coalition. That shirt features the words “Don’t Tread On Me” and a coiled snake. It also includes references to the Second Amendment.
At least the school could argue that the 8th-grader had the outline of a rifle on his shirt the first time. But in March he was wearing a shirt that only had a pro-gun message. Like this:
“The shirt did not promote or advocate illegal activity; it contained no violent or offensive imagery; nothing on it was obscene, vulgar or profane….And yet (the student) was prevented from wearing his shirt based on school officials’ disagreement with the message they believe it conveyed,” the lawsuit contends.
Now G.M. and his parents are suing the school and the district over their overly-broad policy, a violation of his First Amendment rights. And they’re getting hep[ from the legal heavy hitters at the Firearms Policy Coalition. Here’s their press release:
RENO, NV (April 24, 2018) — Less than one week after constitutional rights advocacy organizations Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF) and Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) published a new guide to help protect pro-gun rights students and their First Amendment free speech rights, the groups today announced a new federal civil rights lawsuit against a Reno, Nevada public school district and principal over what they believe are serious violations of an 8th grade student’s First Amendment right to peacefully and non-disruptively wear pro-Second Amendment political messages at his middle school. The complaint, which includes an image of the banned tee shirt, can be downloaded at www.firearmspolicy.org/guardanapo.
The lawsuit, filed this morning in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada in Reno, claims that boy was disciplined for engaging “in a respectful, silent, and peaceful expression of his political views” by wearing a Firearms Policy Coalition t-shirt to school. The shirt invokes the constitution and themes dating back to the American Revolution, with the words “Don’t Tread On Me” and a coiled rattlesnake (familiar elements of the Gadsden flag) flanked by references to the United States of America (“USA”) and the Second Amendment (“2A”). While it also includes the words “Firearms Policy Coalition,” there are no depictions of firearms or weapons of any kind on the shirt.
According to the plaintiffs, the student’s teacher, Brooke May, last month directed him to remove the FPC shirt, claiming that it violated the school’s dress code. She also said that he would be subject to further discipline, including a trip to the principal’s office, if he wore it again. In response, the 8th grader at Kendyl Depoali Middle School told her that it was his “right to express [himself] through how [he] dressed,” to which the teacher responded that he could have his “Second Amendment rights when he turns eighteen”—ignoring, and violating, his First Amendment rights in the process.
Mere days after the plaintiff was disciplined for wearing FPC’s pro-gun rights shirt, students at the school participated in the National School Walkout, a formal, organized protest calling for expansive new gun control measures.