High School Apologizes for Banning Girl's NRA T-Shirt

Friday, 04 Oct 2013 11:03 AM

By Courtney Coren

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A Southern California high school has apologized to a student who was told she couldn't wear a National Rifle Association T-shirt to school because it promoted violence.

Canyon High School in Anaheim Hills issued the apology to 16-year-old Haley Bullwinkle Thursday after making her remove the shirt or face disciplinary action, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Bullwinkle wore the shirt to school about a month ago, but was told by a school security guard that it violated the school code.

The dress code bars clothing that "promotes or depicts: gangs, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, violence, criminal activity, obscenity, the degrading of cultures, ethnicity, gender, religion and/or ethnic values," The Blaze reported.

The school has a Comanche Indian as its mascot.

"They were treating me like I was criminal," Bullwinkle told KCAL-TV in Los Angeles: "I was not allowed to wear that at school because it promoted gun violence."

Story continues below video.

The shirt pictures a buck, an American flag, and the silhouette of a hunter silhouette holding a gun with the words "National Rifle Association of America: Protecting America's Traditions Since 1871" on it.

Bullwinkle's father, Jed, an NRA member, emailed school Principal Kimberly Fricker, asking how it was that his "daughter, a good kid" violated the school dress code.

"The shirt had a gun on it, which is not allowed by school police," Fricker responded. "It's protocol to have students change when they're in violation of the dress code."

Jed Bullwinkle told KCAL there was an inconsistency in the school's concern for depictions of violence when the school's drill team twirls fake rifles and the its mascot is a Comanche.

"I think that if you consider the image of the hunter to be offensive, certainly there are groups that would consider the Comanche Indian chief to be offensive," he said.

The NRA has asked civil-rights attorney Chuck Michel to represent the Bullwinkle family, The Times reported.

"If they're going to try to characterize this shirt as depicting violence, then this policy is overboard," Michel said. "School officials can't write themselves a policy that gives them unfettered discretion."

In a statemenbt, the Orange Unified School District said that after Fricker reviewed the pictures of the T-shirt, she concluded that it didn't promote violence.

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

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