School apologizes for forcing student to remove NRA T-shirt

Oct. 4, 2013 at 2:45 PM
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ANAHEIM, Calif., Oct. 4 (UPI) -- A California high school has apologized for forcing a 16-year-old student to remove a National Rifle Association T-shirt.

Haley Bullwinkle, a sophomore at Canyon High in Anaheim, said she was in a rush and just happened to throw on an NRA shirt before heading to school, the Los Angeles Times reported.

However, once she arrived at school, she was told by an administrator to either change her shirt or go home. Bullwinkle opted to change her shirt, but said afterward that she was confused.

"I felt like they were violating my rights, my freedom of speech," Bullwinkle said. "I want to be able to wear what I want to wear within reason."

Bullwinkle's parents wrote the school, alleging administrators had violated their daughter's First Amendment rights. The school fired back saying the shirt, which featured a rifle and the slogan "National Rifle Association of America, Protecting America's Traditions Since 1871," violated the school's dress code ban on clothing that depicts violence.

The school nonetheless apologized to Bullwinkle Thursday and said it was working with staff to ensure that "an incident like this does not occur again."

"The student will be permitted to wear the shirt," said Superintendent Michael Christensen in a statement.

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