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Protests Over T-Shirt Flap at Grand Island Meeting

Grand Island, NY (WBEN) Dozens of protesters carried signs outside Grand Island Town Hall Monday night to object to the disciplinary action of a student who they say was punished for wearing an NRA T-shirt.

Shane Kinney says he was suspended for refusing to turn his shirt inside out, and was ordered to do so because the shirt depicted crossed rifles behind the NRA logo.

Rus Thompson helped organize the protest against the school board, saying "We're here to defend our second amendment rights and don't appreciate the student being suspended for wearing a t-shirt with the NRA logo." Thompson says the board has been closed-lipped on when the board will bring up the matter during the meeting.

Thompson says the principal of Grand Island High School, where Kinney attends, has been pro second amendment, and says the vice-principal had unilaterally made the decision to suspend Kinney. "We want an apology, we need to have his pocket tool returned which was confiscated everyday," says Thompson.

Thompson adds he'd like to see the matter go to court.

Superintendent Teresa Lawrence recently issued this statement:

The Grand Island Central School District appreciates the many emails and calls received about recent news reports of student discipline. We thank everyone for sharing their views on this matter.

I am personally reading all the emails and listening to all messages.  A review of our policies, procedures, practices, including our discipline, will be conducted to confirm that the fundamental Constitutional rights of our students are honored, including Freedom of Speech.

It has long been our District’s policy - indeed State statutory policy - to review our Code of Conduct and the practices applicable to it each year.  It is important that our policies and practice honor the law, meet the needs of our students, our school community and the community at large.

The administrators in this instance acted consistently with existing policy and practice. Every event - including this one - presents an opportunity to consider the future direction of policy and practice. I will ask for community, staff, and student assistance with that review, especially our review of the student Code of Conduct. I embrace this opportunity to reflect on, and update, our practices with their help.

The Grand Island Central School District is committed to providing a comprehensive educational program in a safe learning environment in which Constitutional and legal rights are supported and protected.

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Topics : Education
Social :
People : CodeRus ThompsonShane KinneyTeresa Lawrence
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