In 2013, Jared Marcum was charged by his West Virginia middle school with disrupting an educational process and obstructing an officer after he was told to turn his NRA t-shirt inside out, or face suspension. Those charges were later dismissed by a judge, but Marcum was suspended for one day.
Macum’s mother, Tanya Lardieri, has now filed a lawsuit on behalf of her son, which names several school board members, the school district superintendent, the school principal, a teacher and other staffers at Logan Middle School.
The story of the actual incident from two years ago goes like this, according to Lardieri’s complaint filed last month: Marcum, then a 14-year-old eighth grader, was waiting in line for lunch in the cafeteria on April 18, 2013. Marcum was physically stopped by a school secretary who placed her hand on his chest and advised him that his shirt violated the school dress code and instructed him to turn the shirt inside out or face suspension, as reported by “The Logan Banner.“
The shirt was olive green with the NRA logo and the words “Protect Your Right” above an image of a scoped rifle, pictured above.
After being stopped by the secretary, a teacher was brought over to look at the shirt. The teacher and secretary agreed that it violated the school’s dress code, and Marcum was escorted to the principal’s office after he refused to turn the shirt inside out.
The suit claims these actions violated Marcum’s First and 14th Amendment rights as well as other civil rights.
Marcum later refused to stop talking when a police officer asked him to. That’s where the obstruction of justice charge came from.
The question is, did the shirt violate the school dress code at the time? The suit states that the shirt was indeed in compliance with the dress code policy against violent or threatening images. And there’s the matter of whether the shirt’s sentiment and imagery are violent or threatening. The courts will be answering that question.
Lardieri is seeking compensatory damages in the amount of $200,000 and punitive damages in the amount of $250,000. If you want to look it up, the Southern District of West Virginia case number is: 2:15-cv-04822.