Two New Jersey high school students say they were punished last week after they posted pictures on social media of completely legal firearms at a private gun range.
Now, the school may be looking at a legal battle over a weapons policy that encroaches on students’ lives outside the schoolhouse.
The students, who attend Lacey Township High School, posted a photo of four rifles, ammunition and a rifle bag on the popular social media app, Snapchat, with the caption “fun day at the range,” according to NJ.com.
The photo later made it to school officials, who upon seeing it, punished the students with five days of in-school suspension for allegedly violating the school’s weapons possession policy.
The Lacy Township High School student handbook declares students are subject to punishment if they are “reported to be in possession of a weapon of any type for any reason or purpose whether on or off school grounds during the academic year,” according to a screenshot of the book posted at Ammoland.
Punishment for violating the policy includes “long term suspension,” evaluation from the school’s “child study team,” or even recommendation the student be suspended for “at least 1 year.”
The students’ story quickly spread online, drawing controversy in the community.
Lacey schools Superintendent Craig Wigley told NJ.com that “information posted on social media is incorrect,” but failed to correct the record. In separate comments to the Daily Caller, Wigley said: “No students have been suspended for a gun offense now or during my tenure.”
Now, in addition to community backlash, the school district may have a legal battle on its hands.
Who is taking action?
The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs sent the district a cease-and-desist letter last week threatening a lawsuit if the district doesn’t overturn the students’ punishment and do away with its weapons policy.
The group addressed the letter to Wigley and Lacey HS principal Gregory Brandis.
Scott Bach, executive director of the ANJRPC, told NJ.com the school’s policy violates the Second Amendment.
“The policy is clearly wrong and violates the Second Amendment. We hope that they’re reasonable people and they will fix it. If they don’t, we’re prepared to take legal action,” he said.
“Schools do not have the authority to chill the rights of their students off of school grounds, and this blatant infringement of constitutional rights will not be tolerated. I don’t care if no students were disciplined. The policy has got to go,” Bach explained.