Wisconsin high school sued over blocking T-shirts depicting guns

Wisconsin high school sued over blocking T-shirts depicting guns
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A school in Wisconsin is facing a federal lawsuit asserting it violated its students' First Amendment rights by prohibiting them from wearing shirts that depict images of guns.

The suit was filed by a mother of two students at Kettle Moraine High School in Wales, Wis., after her sons were sent to the principal's office and informed that their shirts were not appropriate for school, according to ABC News affiliate WISN.

The school's principal, Beth Kaminski, is the defendant in the lawsuit. She stated in an email, "We do not allow students to wear clothes that depict guns ... Moving forward, [the boys] cannot wear any items of clothing that depict guns."


One of the shirts depicts an AR-15-style rifle as well as the name of a gun rights organization. The second shirt is similar, including a silhouette image of a holstered pistol with the name of an organization spread across the chest, the report said.

John Monroe, the lawyer of the two boys, said: "The shirts are not threatening, violent, or illegal, and they do not depict drugs or alcohol."

Monroe wrote in the complaint that the dress code for the 2019-2020 school handbook was not descriptive enough and was too vague to claim that an image of a gun is against the rules.


"The dress code does not provide objective criteria by which Plaintiff can determine what clothing is restricted," Monroe said.

Zack Zupke, a spokesperson for the district, defended the school's policy in an email, saying: "Wearing shirts with images of weapons is not an issue of free speech, and it can be respectfully regulated by the District."

Zupke also claimed that courts have recognized "legitimate pedagogical concerns in preventing violence in its schools."

Monroe argued that there is not a correlation between the shirts and gun violence

"An image of a gun on a shirt, you know, there's a giant leap of faith to get from that to an actual school shooting," he said in a phone with WISN.

The suit against Kettle Moraine High School was filed Thursday and is currently awaiting further paperwork from the defense before proceeding.

Monroe reportedly won a similar case in Wisconsin after a federal judge ruled that a student couldn't be barred from wearing a shirt that depicts guns and rifles spelling the word "love," WISN reported.