When word circulated that two students were suspended for a photograph that showed them at a gun range, it sparked outrage and for good reason. These kids were doing nothing wrong, but they were punished just the same. Further, it was at a time when gun owners are being stigmatized by leftists in an effort to drive us out of political conversations on the Second Amendment.
Now, in a big win on a small scale for gun rights, the school in question has amended the policy they reportedly used to justify the suspension.
The same week that students across New Jersey walked out of their classrooms for stronger gun control measures, Lacey residents expressed fury over allegations that local students were suspended for sharing photos of a firearms training.
The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs said in a letter to Lacey Township School District’s superintendent that school officials took “unlawfully imposed disciplinary action against several students” and violated their First and Second Amendment rights.
The association said the students had shared pictures on social media of “lawful participation in firearms practice and training.”
Superintendent Craig Wigley called the claims “incorrect.”
“It is important to note … that we have not had to invoke Policy 5611 for the unlawful use of a firearm by a Lacey student,” he said in an email to parents. “The recent rumors and social media posts are not related to Policy 5611 as no student has been disciplined for violating Policy 5611.”
However, two students were apparently suspended. And, it also appears that as a result of that suspension, a lawsuit was threatened.
The superintendent failed to note just which policy the students did violate and why they were suspended. However, that claim didn’t hold water with Second Amendment activists.
“Both the actions taken against the students, and the Firearms Policy, are in blatant violation of the First and Second Amendments to the United States Constitution and the free speech protections of the New Jersey Constitution,” the association’s attorney Daniel L. Schmutter wrote in the letter to Wigley.
Schmutter threatened legal action against the district if officials did not immediately rescind the disciplinary action taken against the students and erase records that suggested they committed misconduct. He also demanded the school district issue a written apology to the students and their families and amend the district’s Firearms Policy.
The Asbury Park Press was not able to reach the affected students or families in order to independently verify the association’s claims that they were disciplined under this policy.
Frankly, I won’t say it doesn’t matter because it does–but only to a point.
On the one hand, if the story has been misreported, then a number of us including myself reported something incorrectly. That’s not good, and it bothers me. On the other hand, however, the policy in question was a problem and just because it might not have been used in this case doesn’t mean it won’t be later.
That being said, I’m inclined to disbelieve the superintendent. That’s just my own opinion, of course, but if the policy resulted in no suspensions, then why scramble to change the policy? It seems unlikely they would react so quickly if no one has been punished for violating it. Yes, there was still the threat of the lawsuit, but it seems that absent someone being punished for breaking that particular rule, there was no standing for anyone to sue.
But I’m not a lawyer either.
Either way, this policy–and similar policies throughout the country–needed to change. At least this one did.