‘A Victory For Common Sense’: Charges Dropped Against Teen Who Wore NRA Shirt To School
July 1, 2013 by Ben Bullard
More than two months after 14-year-old West Virginia student Jared Marcum wore a National Rifle Association T-shirt to Logan Middle School, criminal charges stemming from his refusal to take off the shirt have been dropped.
Logan County Circuit Judge Eric O’Briant dismissed a charge of obstruction last Thursday, following an agreement struck with prosecutors and school faculty that there was no point in creating a criminal record for Jared, whose behavioral record as a student was previously unblemished.
(Side note: It took two months for adults to reach that conclusion?)
Prosecutors had been forging ahead in the case as recently as Monday of last week, when Jared was summoned back into court after the State had requested a gag order against both Jared and his father, Allen Lardieri, who had appeared on several television stations discussing the case.
Prosecutors had claimed the order was for the defendant’s own protection, but defense attorney Ben White found that a risible argument, saying it was simply a PR move designed “to take it [the case] out of the court of public opinion.”
Jared was immediately suspended following the T-shirt incident, during which he continued talking about how his 1st Amendment rights were being violated after band teacher David Burroway, who evidently wasn’t too keen on the 2nd Amendment, told him to stop arguing about changing shirts. But the then-eighth-grader’s persistence in voicing his beliefs incurred an obstruction charge.
Upon his return to school, Jared’s fellow students signaled their solidarity by wearing their own NRA T-shirts to class, with no opposition from school administrators.
“I think, with the gun issue, with what is going on, this is a victory for common sense,” White told WOWK-TV after the charges had been dropped. Jared’s parents have indicated they will file a civil suit against the school system.