A teen’s NRA shirt controversy may land him in jail for more than a year, and 14-year-old Jared Marcum is headed to trial over a spat that erupted after he refused to remove the shirt or turn it inside out.
Marcum is an eighth grade student in West Virginia, and the NRA shirt the teen chose to wear was deemed offensive for its weapons imagery as well as a slogan — “protect your right.”
According to the NRA shirt teen and his lawyer, via ABC, Marcum’s NRA shirt and refusal to change the top landed him in the principal’s office, accused of making “terroristic threats.” The station says:
“Jared was asked to remove the shirt or turn it inside out by a secretary and then a teacher at Logan Middle School in Logan, W.Va. When he refused to do so he was brought to the principal, who called police … The boy said that when police arrived at the school, they told him ‘sit down and shut up’ and threatened to charge him with making terroristic threats when he tried to explain his side of the story.”
Despite the NRA shirt, the teen was “unarmed and presented no threat to the officers or students, according to his lawyer.”
Back in April when the NRA shirt controversy first made national news, Marcum said:
“I never thought it would go this far because, honestly, I don’t see a problem with this … There shouldn’t be a problem with this.”
Fox says the NRA shirt teen was arrested April 18 for disturbing the education process and obstructing an officer, possibly because “arresting officer James Adkins claimed that Marcum’s refusal to talk obstructed his ability to do his job.”
Garments like the teen’s NRA shirt are not explicitly banned under dress codes in the school, but the rules state:
“If in the judgment of the administration, a student is dressed inappropriately, the student will be required to change clothes or cover up inappropriate clothing before returning to classes.”
It has been suggested that the teen’s NRA shirt was not the cause of the arrest, but Marcum’s behavior afterwards may be behind the charges and threat of jail time.
A petition over at Change.org started after Marcum was charged states:
“Jared Marcum was suspended and arrested after refusing to change his NRA shirt at school. Today, 14-year-old Marcum appeared before a judge and was officially charged with obstructing an officer. Marcum could face a $500 fine and up to a year in jail now that a judge has allowed the prosecution to move forward with it’s obstructing an officer charge against him. This is Outrageous!”
According to Yahoo, the NRA shirt teen’s arrest came not from refusal to talk, but refusal to stop talking. The district has not commented on the teen’s charges.