West Virginia 8th Grader Jared Marcum Arrested, Suspended after Refusing to Remove NRA T-Shirt
A West Virginia teen was arrested at his middle school last Thursday after he refused to remove a National Rifle Association (NRA) t-shirt.
Fourteen-year-old Jared Marcum, an eighth grade student at Logan Middle School in Logan, was involved in a lunch room confrontation with a teacher who demanded that he either remove his t-shirt, which features the NRA logo, an image of a hunting rifle and the words “Protect Your Right,” or turn the shirt inside-out.
Marcum refused to remove his shirt and tried to start a debate with the teacher, who reportedly began to raise his voice. Marcum found himself in a fight over his First Amendment rights involving a display of support for the Second Amendment– and then he found himself under arrest.
Police were called to the school not, as Logan Police Chief E.K. Harper explained to ABC News, for wearing the t-shirt but for “disrupting the school process.”
“His conduct in school almost incited a riot,” Harper alleged.
Marcum was not jailed and was released to his mother’s custody within about 30 minutes of his arrest.
“I never thought it would go this far because honestly I don’t see a problem with this,” the teen told WOWKTV.
Neither does his father, Allen Lardieri.
“I don’t see how anybody would have an issue with a hunting rifle and NRA put on a t-shirt, especially when policy doesn’t forbid it,” Lardieri told WOWKTV. “He did not violate any school policy. He did not become aggressive.”
Family lawyer Ben White concurs.
“Jared respects firearms and has training to use them, and believes in the Second Amendment,” White told ABC News. “He believes it’s being threatened by current legislation. He wore [the shirt] as an expression of political speech and the need to protect the Second Amendment.”
White said that a video recording of the cafeteria incident will prove that the teacher is at fault for initiating the confrontation.
“I believe the teacher was acting beyond the scope of his employment,” White added. “What the video shows is that students did step up on the benches to the tables in the lunchroom when they were escorting Jared out of the building. Teachers said to get off and be quiet, and they did… There is no evidence that Jared almost caused a riot.”
In addition to being arrested, Marcum was suspended from school for one day. When he returned to Logan Middle School, he was wearing the same t-shirt which had caused him so much trouble last week. Many of his schoolmates wore the same NRA t-shirts in a show of solidarity.
“There’s a lot of people wearing this same exact shirt, showing great, great support and I really appreciate it,” Marcum told WBOY just before returning to school on Monday.
Tagged Allen Lardieri, E.K.Harper, First Amendment, Jared Marcum, Jared Marcum Logan WV, Logan Middle School, National Rifle Association, NRA t-shirt, second amendment, student arrested over NRA t-shirt