Jared Marcum, 14 was arrested in April when, officers say, he nearly incited a riot after refusing to change out of his NRA T-shirt. But the teen says he didn’t violate any school policy and was merely exercising his right to free speech. A judge is allowing prosecutors to charge him with obstructing an officer, which means Marcum could face jail time or a fine.
Jared Marcum was arrested after refusing to remove an NRA T-shirt at school in April.
A West Virginia teen who was arrested after refusing to change out of his National Rifle Association T-shirt at school could face a fine and even jail time on a related charge.
A judge in Logan County Court is allowing prosecutors to charge 14-year-old Jared Marcum with obstructing an officer in the April 18 incident, reported CBS affiliate WTRF-TV.
The arresting officer in Logan, a city about an hour south of Charleston, said that Marcum wouldn’t stop talking during the frenzy at Lincoln Middle School, the station said.
The judge’s decision last week against Marcum now means prosecutors can seek a $500 fine and up to a year in jail for the former eighth-grader.
But the teen’s stepdad vows the family won’t back down.
“Me — I’m more of a fighter, and so is Jared. And eventually we’re going to get through this,” Allen Lardieri told WTRF. “I don’t think it should have ever gotten this far.”
The clothing kerfuffle began when Marcum wore a shirt bearing the NRA’s logo and a hunting rifle. As he stood in line in the cafeteria, a teacher ordered him to either change shirts or turn it inside out.
Marcum declined and was sent to the office, where an officer was dispatched after he again refused to comply with the school’s request.
Cops arrested him and charged him with disrupting the educational process and obstructing an officer.
Marcum’s attorney, Ben White, said the teacher went too far in targeting the teen, and believes he didn’t violate the school’s dress code.
Marcum said he spoke calmly when he told administrators that he was exercising his right to free speech.
The county schools’ dress code lists several rules students are expected to follow.
The guidelines prohibit clothing that displays “profanity, violence, discriminatory messages or sexually suggestive phrases,” although it doesn’t specifically mention whether a shirt featuring a gun and supporting the NRA would be banned.
Logan County prosecutors and school officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Sunday.
“Every aspect of this is just totally wrong,” Lardieri told WTRF, adding that Marcum doesn’t have a criminal background.
“It just seems like nobody wants to admit they’re wrong,” he added.
Marcum is due back in court July 11. His lawyer is trying to get the charges dropped.