Officials at a Pasadena, California, school dragged a student in for questioning over his pro-gun rights flag, which he wore as a cape for a pro-Second Amendment function at school.
Campus Reform obtained audio recording of the exchange between the student and the administrators and published the recording, along with a partial transcription of the conversation, Tuesday on its website.
What are the details?
According to the outlet, student Charles Li, who is a member of South Pasadena High School’s Young Conservatives, decided to wear the flag to school, which said, “Come and take it.”
The flag, which Li wore as a cape, bore a graphic of an AR-style rifle and was worn as part of his participation in a student-led pro-Second Amendment school walkout.
Campus Reform reported that the school’s assistant principal and another school administrator approached Li about the flag and reportedly told him that wearing the flag was a violation of the school’s dress code — for promoting “violence.”
After the school officials brought their concerns to Li, he responded, “Yeah … it’s not an actual gun.”
“Gun” was apparently the only word the administrators needed to hear, as heard on the recording.
“So it is a gun!” one of the administrators answered.
On the recording, Li responded, “If it is a gun, I have a right to wear it in support of the Second Amendment,” and declared that the “whole point of the protest is going against a semiautomatic weapons ban.”
Is the flag promoting violence?
One of the administrators stuck to the dress code excuse and insisted that Li should not wear the flag on campus “because our dress code says people cannot promote drug use, violence, and so forth.”
“I’m not promoting violence,” Li answered. “How am I promoting any violence? I don’t get how this is promoting violence, just by supporting the Constitution.”
One of the administrators continued to fight back and said, “I don’t really see how it’s supporting the Constitution by wearing a gun on your back.”
Another added, “I don’t remember there being semiautomatic rifles in the Constitution.”
The administrators went back and forth for a while before insisting that the flag cannot be worn in the school “if it’s going to be something that intimidates or scares people or disrupts the educational process.”
Li insisted that he wasn’t wearing the flag to disrupt classes and had planned to wear it only during the walkout protest.
One administrator appeared to concede, and answered, “If that’s something you’re going to wear during your march, that’s one thing. When you’re leaving campus, just be aware with what comes along with that, and people’s reactions to seeing a semiautomatic weapon.”
“When you wear it as a cape, you can’t even see all the wording that’s attached to it,” the administrator added. “You just see a big gun.”
This is when it took a turn for the weird.
After the administrators finished their interrogation of Li, they asked him to turn over his cellphone to examine “what you may possibly have on that phone.”
“I do have it with me,” Li admited, before the recording shut off.
Have any teachers spoken out?
A teacher at the school reportedly told Campus Reform that the dress code is “generally ignored by students without consequences” and said the administration’s questioning of Li is “part of a continuing trend of harassment against conservative faculty members and students.”
The teacher requested anonymity for fear of retaliation.
“They’d fire me in a heartbeat,” the teacher told Campus Reformm.