It’s a sound Shane Kinney, 16, said he’s heard before.
Teachers at Grand Island High School — just a couple of miles east of the Canadian border in western New York state — getting miffed at his “Protected by Smith and Wesson” sweatshirt.
“They’ve yelled at me for wearing it before because it has a gun on it and I had to duct tape it,” Kinney told WBEN-AM in Buffalo, N.Y.
But when Kinney said he removed his sweatshirt, things escalated just a tad.
Because underneath the sophomore was wearing a National Rifle Association T-shirt emblazoned with the phrases “2nd AMENDMENT Shall not be Infringed” and “Live Free or Die” and the pair of rifles crossed over each other.
Kinney was told his T-shirt also was inappropriate.
“They said it was the guns,” Kinney’s father Wayne told WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, N.Y.
Kinney’s options? Change the shirt or turn it inside-out.
“He said he’d rather not turn it inside out,” Wayne Kinney said.
So the hunter, avid outdoorsman, and NRA member received a one-day in-school suspension.
While the school dress code indicates attire shouldn’t “disrupt or interfere with the educational process,” it doesn’t state anything specific related to promoting political causes or depicting firearms, WGRZ said.
The code also prohibits clothing which might “encourage …violent activities.”
However, Kinney’s mother Kim, who works at the high school, told WGRZ that wearing such a T-shirt “doesn’t mean you are for any kind of violence.”
But since Kinney refused to turn the shirt inside-out or change it, that stood against another aspect of the dress code: “Any student who refuses to do so or who… fails to comply shall be subject to discipline.”
Shane’s mom and dad, also NRA members, said they’ve taught their son to stand up for what he believes.
And while they said the school overreacted and shouldn’t have suspended Shane, Mom and Dad also taught him to pick his battles.
“Shane will probably not wear shirts like this to school anymore,” Kim Kinney told WGRZ. “He can hold firmly to his beliefs but for those 7 hours a day, five days a week he’s in school, you have to kind of follow their rules, like it or not. But he’ll move on, he’ll graduate, and probably serve our country and wear lots of shirts like that.”
Kinney said fellow students have complimented him on his shirt. “They haven’t said anything bad about it, although they don’t hunt,” he told WBEN. “The only people giving me trouble were teachers.”
WGRZ attempted to speak with Grand Island Superintendent of Schools Terese Lawrence but said they were told she was unavailable for comment; WBEN also reached out to Lawrence but said they received no response.
(H/T: EAG News)