A Wisconsin high school student who was sent to “the cubicle” for defying a ban on wearing his gun T-shirts is now fighting back.
Matthew Schoenecker, a freshman at Markesan High School, is suing the school district because he believes the T-shirt ban by his principal infringes on his First Amendment free speech right to support the Second Amendment, WISN-TV reported.
Schoenecker and his parents were reportedly told by the school before spring break that the teen would not be allowed to wear any of his collection of shirts depicting guns and other weapons. Schoenecker’s wardrobe includes shirts that spell out “Love” using a handgun, grenade, knives and a rifle, and another featuring an image of different firearms declaring “Celebrate Diversity.”
“I enjoy shooting, and I enjoy the Second Amendment, like the right to keep and bear arms,” he told WISN.
Apparently the Markesan High School principal was not a fan, however.
When Schoenecker arrived at school last week sporting the “Love” T-shirt, he got in trouble, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“It was his choice whether he wears it or not,” his father, Brian Schoenecker, told WISN. “He decided, ‘I’m gonna wear this. It’s my right.’”
The father arrived at the school with his wife, Pam Schoenecker, to find their son in a solitary confinement of sorts, placed in a small room known as “the cubicle” because he would not cover his gun T-shirt, WISN reported.
“There’s nothing in there saying he’s promoting violence whatsoever, which is what the principal said was the issue, that he was promoting violence at school,” Pam Schoenecker said.
The gun rights group, Wisconsin Carry, is funding the student’s federal lawsuit against the principal.
According to the Journal Sentinel:
The suit, filed Monday in Milwaukee, names principal John Koopman as the sole defendant. It claims Koopman violated Schoenecker’s freedom of expression by restricting him from wearing shirts that depict guns and other weapons in “a non-violent, non-threatening manner.”
The suit also contends that Koopman’s personal, case-by-case determination of which shirts are “inappropriate” violates Schoenecker’s rights to due process.
“I didn’t think it would get this big, this bad,” the teen told WISN.
Wisconsin Carry president, Nik Clark, told the Journal Sentinel that the parents are members of the advocacy group and told him that after the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., their son’s teachers were harassing him about the shirts, even though he had worn them without incident all year.
“Schools literally facilitated anti-gun protests, but they’re not going to let this kid wear a shirt?” Clark said.
The lawsuit is seeking a court order allowing Schoenecker to wear his T-shirts and cover the costs for bringing the lawsuit, the Journal Sentinel reported. Clark did not expect a prolonged case as the Markesan community generally supports gun rights.
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