- The Washington Times - Friday, October 4, 2013

A school in Orange County, Calif., issued an apology on Thursday for forcing a 16-year-old student to remove her National Rifle Association shirt and threatening her with punitive action.

The fiasco started a couple weeks ago when Haley Bullwinkle wore the shirt her father had given her to Canyon High School. On it was a silhouette of a hunter carrying a rifle, alongside the text: “National Rifle Association of America, Protecting America’s Traditions Since 1871.”

The school deemed the shirt a promotion of violence, against dress code, and ordered her to change. She did — but was confused and frightened, said Mark Selmi, the director of communications for the law firm that represented her and argued her First Amendment rights were violated, in an email to The Washington Times. The school dress code bans clothing that promotes violence, that depicts violence, that shows criminal activities or that degrades ethnic values.

Her parents wrote the principal and demanded further explanation, but only received a recitation of dress code policy in reply.

Following pressure and legal action, the school ultimately apologized. Administrators also said the NRA shirt did not promote violence and promised to send staff to training so “an incident like this does not occur again,” The Associated Press reported.

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