The latest bit of anti-gun hysteria erupted in a school setting on Monday when an eighth-grade teacher threatened a 14-year-old boy with suspension if he did not remove his t-shirt supporting the United States Marines.
The incident occurred in a reading class at Genoa-Kingston Middle School in a small town in northeast Illinois. The teacher, Karen Deverell, believed the interlocking rifles emblazoned across Michael McIntyre’s shirt violated the school’s dress code, reports Fox News.
McIntyre’s father, Daniel McIntyre, said Deverell made him turn the shirt inside out for the rest of the day. He also noted that the boy had worn the shirt to school on many previous occasions without threats of suspension.
“My son is very proud of the Marines, and, in fact, of all the services,” the elder McIntyre told Fox News. “So he wears it with pride. There are two rifles crossed underneath the word ‘Marines’ on the shirt, but to me that should be overlooked. It’s more about the Marines instead of the rifles.”
Daniel McIntyre added that his son was upset about the situation.
“He couldn’t understand why a teacher would make him do that,” he said.
According to a local newspaper, school officials (beyond the teacher) had not been aware of the kerfuffle until Fox News — which had the story first — notified administrators late Monday.
Superintendent Joe Burgess told the DeKalb Daily Chronicle that Deverell’s superiors would have immediately overruled the teacher’s interpretation of the school district’s dress code had they known about it.
“Very simply, it’s not a violation,” Burgess told the Daily Chronicle. “It’s a very common symbol for the U.S. Marines. Had we had an opportunity to discuss it, we could have straightened out the situation.”
Burgess added that teachers in his district who aren’t sure about dress code violations should send students to the principal’s office for a second opinion — and a final determination.
According to Fox News, the school district’s clothing policy doesn’t appear to address guns on shirts that show support for the United States military with any specificity. The closest rule that applies reads: “Student dress (including accessories) may not advertise, promote, or picture alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, violent behavior, or other inappropriate images.”
Daniel McIntyre believes the policy is too vague if a teacher can believe that his son’s shirt was a violation. He wants to meet with school officials to argue for a change.
“I have a close relationship with the county Marines and a lot of respect for them, and my son does, too,” McIntyre told the Daily Chronicle. “I really couldn’t tell you what the teacher was thinking.”
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