The West Virginia eighth-grader who was suspended and arrested in late April after he refused to remove a t-shirt supporting the National Rifle Association appeared in court this week and was formally charged with obstructing an officer.
As CBS affiliate WTRF reports, 14-year-old Jared Marcum now faces a $500 fine and a maximum of one year in prison.
The boy’s father, Allen Lardieri, is not pleased.
“Me, I’m more of a fighter and so is Jared and eventually we’re going to get through this,” Lardieri told WTRF. “I don’t think it should have ever gotten this far.”
“Every aspect of this is just totally wrong,” Lardieri added. “He has no background of anything criminal up until now and it just seems like nobody wants to admit they’re wrong.”
Officials at Logan Middle School in Logan County, West Va. maintain that Marcum, who has since completed eighth grade, was suspended for one day because he caused a disruption after a teacher asked him to remove a shirt emblazoned with a hunting rifle and the statement “protect your right.”
“She said, ‘Are you supposed to wear that in school?’” Marcum had previously explained in an interview with local station, WOWK-TV. “I said, ‘I don’t see why I shouldn’t.’”
In a move The Daily Caller can only characterize as courageous, Marcum returned to school after his suspension wearing exactly the same shirt. Students across the rural county showed their support for Marcum by wearing similar shirts on that day as well. (RELATED: Eighth-grader arrested over NRA shirt returns to school in same shirt)
There are no accounts of any additional arrests or suspensions when Marcum returned to school.
Lardieri has claimed that police in Logan City (pop. 1,779) threatened to charge Marcum with making terroristic threats during the incident that led to his arrest.
In legal documents obtained by the CBS station, the arresting officer, James Adkins, reportedly fails to inform the court about any terrorist threats or any violent action. Instead, Adkins asserts that the 14-year-old boy did not follow his orders to stop talking. This verbosity somehow prevented Adkins from performing his police duties.
“In my view of the facts, Jared didn’t do anything wrong,” Ben White, Marcum’s attorney, opined, according to WTRF. “I think Officer Adkins could have done something differently.”
White has previously asserted that his client was exercising his free speech rights by wearing the shirt.
The school district’s policy doesn’t prohibit shirts promoting Second Amendment rights.
Logan police and the prosecuting attorney, Michael White, declined to answer questions.
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