Anaheim Hills, California’s Canyon High School made 16-year-old student Haley Bullwinkle remove a T-shirt she was wearing and put on something else, and the high school has ended up apologizing for the act, according to Yahoo! News on Friday.
As the story goes, Bullwinkle was running late in preparing for school and grabbed a T-shirt that had a drawing of the American flag and a hunter, accompanied by the words “National Rifle Association of America, Protecting America’s Traditions Since 1871.” When a security guard at the school saw the T-shirt’s message, he instructed Bullwinkle to change her top or get suspended. She complied by changing into something that the school provided her to wear for the remainder of the day.
Though cooperative, the girls was frightened from the incident and found her parents to be furious when they learned of the incident. The girl’s father – Jeb Bullwinkle – is a member of the National Rifle Association and was given the T-shirt when he joined the NRA. The father said that he was shocked that Canyon High School’s personnel would ever think that his daughter was intending to promote violence by wearing the shirt. He said that his daughter is an excellent student who doesn’t get into trouble, and she would never harm or hurt anyone. Furthermore, he said that the school’s dress code policy not allowing such a T-shirt to be worn challenged his daughter’s First Amendment rights.
The high school is now back-peddling on the issue. Canyon High School Principal Kimberly Fricker apologized to the Bullwinkles. School Superintendent Michael Christensen released a statement asserting that campus staff will be trained so that an incident like this one does not occur again.
It has been suggested by the Bullwinkle’s attorney that the school revise its dress code to better define which clothing is truly threatening-in-message and therefore cannot be worn in the school.