A New York school stopped a National Guard recruiter from passing out t-shirts on campus Friday because the shirts depicted a silhouetted soldier pointing a rifle, an image that school officials and teachers thought was unacceptable in a classroom environment.
“A pointed gun is just not appropriate for a high school,” Alan McCartney, the interim superintendent of the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk School District in Albany County, told Fox News.
“A couple of teachers realized it showed a silhouette of a rifleman on it,” McCartney continued. “I realize some students look at the t-shirt and all they see is the National Guard. And that is a good thing. Others look at the shirt and all they see is the rifle.”
According to McCartney, the school’s policy prohibits students from wearing clothes that contain violence or weapons.
McCartney says the school’s code is in place to ensure that there is a non-partisan atmosphere.
“We are here to educate students to be neutral,” McCartney explained. “To create an environment where there isn’t a lot of controversy within the environment.”
Yet, controversy is exactly what the decision to ban the shirts has created.
“As a mother, when I first saw the shirt, I saw the American flag, the silhouette of the soldier,” Jennifer Delisle, whose child attends the school, told CBS 6. “I didn’t even notice the gun and the children I’ve talked to said it had nothing to do with the gun being on it. It had to do with the honor and respect to the National Guard.”
Undoubtedly, other parents feel as Ms. Delisle does, but McCartney is standing his ground.
“This has nothing to do with patriotism,” he said. “This has more to do with the world we live in. We live under the shadow of a lot of bad things that have happened.”
Meanwhile, the National Guard did not put up a fight, but did note that the shirts did not cause problems in the past.
“We were happy to oblige the superintendent and remove them from any further distribution,” said Richard Goldenberg, a National Guard spokesman. “We are always respectful of all different school policies.”