Published March 13, 2014
A high school student in upstate New York was suspended for wearing an NRA T-shirt that touted the second amendment after he refused to turn it inside out or cover the words with duct tape.
Shane Kinney, a 16-year-old sophomore from Grand Island, located between Niagara Falls and Buffalo, said he served a one-day, in-school suspension Monday after he refused last Friday to turn his T-shirt inside out at the request of the vice principal at Grand Island High School. The shirt was emblazoned with the NRA logo and the words, “2nd Amendment Shall not be Infringed” across the back.
“Mr. Lauria [the vice principal] told me I had to either turn the shirt inside out or put duct tape over the words,” Shane Kinney told FoxNews.com. “I told them that I wasn’t going to do it. I had to sit in the suspension room and eat lunch alone until my father brought me a new shirt to school.”
Kinney, a card-carrying member of the NRA along with his parents, said he had worn the shirt to school before, along with others that were similar, and had been asked to put duct tape over the writing. He said he complied because he didn’t want to make waves.
“I would never complain. I just wanted to get through the school year,” Kinney said. Officials at the school cited the dress code which prohibits any clothing that might incite or encourage “violent activities.”
“There was pretty much nothing in the policy about guns. We spoke to the principal about it,” Shane’s father, Wayne Kinney, told FoxNews.com. He added he discovered that he was also a member of the NRA. “We decided that it was best to let the whole thing drop since Shane already took his suspension.
“I don’t think they would have changed their minds anyway.”
In a copy of the letter sent to the Kinney home that was provided to FoxNews.com, Grand Island High School Vice Principal Michael Lauria stated:
“On Friday March 7th, 2014 prior to the start of school, Shane was seen wearing a sweatshirt with the logo of a firearm. Shane was asked to remove the shirt and turn it inside out, or place tape over the logo. Shane was also previously asked not to wear the shirt to school.
“Shane did not listen to the administrator and was later seen wearing a T-shirt with rifles displayed on the back,” the statement continues. “Shane’s actions are insubordinate and in violation of the GICSD Code of Conduct.”
On Thursday, Schools Superintendent Teresa Lawrence released a statement denying that Shane was disciplined "for wearing a shirt expressing a position on the NRA or gun control." Although she did not elaborate, she said the incident presented an opportunity to review policy.
"The Grand Island School District recognizes this matter as an opportunity to review its policies, procedures and actions to ensure that they are consistent with our commitment to provide a safe learning environment and protect students' Constitutional rights," Lawrence said.
Kinney’s father maintains that there is actually nothing in the student code that bans clothing with the imagery of guns.
While Kinney took his punishment like a good student, he says he’s still not happy with how everything went down.
“I don’t agree with it,” he said. “The NRA does great things and there was nothing wrong with that shirt.
Kinney, who is an avid hunter with a part-time job at the local gun club, says that he believes that he was asked to remove the shirt more for political beliefs than for inappropriateness.
“I’ve worn other shirts before with guns on them,” he said. “I was never asked to cover up. I think this happened because it was an NRA shirt.”
“That’s what I’m leaning towards.”