A high school student who grabbed a National Rifle Assn. T-shirt in her hurry to find something to wear to school was later confronted outside class by campus officials who forced the student to remove her shirt or face possible disciplinary action, the girl’s parents said.
Haley Bullwinkle heeded the demand, took off the white T-shirt and slipped on a school shirt that officials at Canyon High in Anaheim handed her, but came home confused and frightened, said her father, who got the shirt when he joined the NRA.
“I felt like they were violating my rights, my freedom of speech,” the sophomore said. “I want to be able to wear what I want to wear within reason.” On Thursday, the school changed course and apologized to the 16-year-old and said campus staff will be trained so that “an incident like this does not occur again.” The offending T-shirt was white with an American flag and a silhouette of a hunter with a rifle and the slogan: “National Rifle Association of America, Protecting America’s Traditions Since 1871.”
In asking the student to remove the shirt, school officials said the depiction of the rifle was a violation of the school’s dress code. When the student’s parents wrote to the school’s principal, suggesting that administrators had infringed on their daughter’s constitutional rights, Principal Kimberly Fricker responded by sending the parents the school’s policy on clothing that depicts violence.
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