High school student sent home for wearing a sweatshirt featuring a rifle.
The issues of gun violence in schools clashed with hunting and school dress code in Dixon, Illinois.
Clinton Boyer, 17, wore a yellow sweatshirt featuring a rifle and other hunting gear last Monday. The shirt also had the phrase, “I’ll stop hunting when they pry the gun from my cold dead hands.”
Boyer and his father, who he borrowed the sweatshirt from that morning, are both avid hunters. When he got to school, one of his teachers sent him to the principal’s office for violating the dress code.
“They told me if I don’t take the sweater off or turn it inside out, I would be sent home,” Boyer told Sauk Valley News. “I refused to take it off because it wasn’t against the rules.”
Sauk Valley News said the Dixon High School student handbook states student clothing cannot advertise or promote violent behavior or display “lewd, vulgar, obscene or offensive language or symbols.”
Clinton and his father Derrick argued that the rules don’t say anything specifically about a gun.
School officials, including principal Michael Grady and Superintendent Margo Empen originally declined to comment on the issue. On Wednesday, however, as the story gained traction in the media, they changed their mind.
“I came to school Wednesday and they told me I could wear the sweater after all,” Boyer told the Sauk Valley News. “They told me it’s not against the rules and I could wear it.”
The school did not comment on why they changed their minds. Derrick Boyer told the Sauk Valley he had planned to make some phone calls had they not done so. “I’m a big advocate of the Second Amendment rights and hunting rights,” he said. “I felt they were violating his rights. I would have contacted the National Rifle Association or the Illinois State Rifle Association.”
While the school said they do not comment on student discipline issues, Derrick Boyer told reporters he believes it may have simply been an overreaction.