On Monday, Jared Marcum, an eighth grader, appeared before a judge in Logan County, West Virginia.
Jared was arrested two months earlier for disturbing the education process and obstructing an officer, charges that carry a maximum $500 fine and up to a year in jail.
School officials claim he was in violation of the dress code. Many feel Jared was simply exercising his support of the Second Amendment.
The incident occurred last April when Jared was in line for lunch. A teacher saw his shirt which featured the slogan, "NRA - Protect Your Rights." It included a drawing of a .308 caliber semi-automatic rifle.
His options were to turn the shirt inside out, change his clothes, or go to the principal's office where he would be suspended. He chose the principal's office which brought him an automatic one-day suspension.
When Jared refused to remove the shirt, the police were summoned. He told school authorities and police that he thought he had a right to wear the shirt in support of his Second Amendment right to bear arms. Jared's father said the officers even threatened to charge Jared with making terror threats but that was unfounded and the police dropped that claim.
According to Logan County court documents, Jared refused to be silent after the police responded and that his talking supposedly interfered with the officer's ability to do the investigation. Arresting officer James Adkins claimed that Jared obstructed his ability to do his job. Therefore, he was arrested for "disturbing the education process" and obstruction.
Ben White, Jared's attorney, argued that the law allows persons under arrest to question police and tell their side of a story. In view of the facts, he feels Jared didn't do anything wrong, and that officer Adkins could have done have done better with his investigation.
White also said that case law says you can question police and you can talk to police, providing you don't use foul language, or insult them. He has filed a motion to dismiss the case and a hearing on that motion will take place on July 11.
Jared is winning the public relations war. A petition on Change.org calling for charges against the teen to be dropped had nearly 1,000 signatures by Monday afternoon. At the school, about 100 fellow students felt so strongly that Jared had the right to stand up for his rights that they wore the same NRA shirt to school in support.
He certainly doesn't deserve to be arrested or prosecuted for standing up for his Second Amendment rights.
By Jim Zbick