CHARLESTON – A mother is suing Logan County Board of Education after her son was forced to remove his t-shirt or face suspension.
Phyllis Adkins, former president of the board; William Davis, vice president of the board; Mark McGrew, current president of the board; Dr. Pat J. White, school board member; James Frye, school board member; Wilma Zigmond, school board superintendent; Ernestine Sutherland, principal of Logan Middle School; David L. Burroway, teacher at Logan Middle School; Howard Rockhold, teacher at Logan Middle School; Christopher Marcus, teacher at Logan Middle School; Anita Gore, secretary of Logan Middle School; and Logan Middle School were also named as defendants in the suit.
On April 18, 2013, Jared Marcum, a 14-year-old eighth grader, wore a National Rifle Association of American pro-Second Amendment t-shirt to school, according to a complaint filed April 15 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
Marcum's mother, Tanya Lardieri, claims the shirt was olive green, bearing the NRA logo, had the words "Protect your right" and an image of a hunting rifle on it.
Marcum's shirt comported with the Logan Middle School student/parent handbook of policies in effect at the time, according to the suit.
Lardieri claims while waiting in the lunch line in the school's cafeteria, Marcum was physically stopped by Gore, who placed her hand on Marcum's chest, stopping him from proceeding further, and advised him that his shirt violated school dress code and instructed him to turn the shirt inside out or face suspension from school.
Gore then summoned Burroway to view his shirt, stating to him that the shirt violated the dress code, and, at this point, Burroway agreed, according to the suit.
Lardieri claims the order to turn the shirt inside out or face suspension was witnessed by Rockhold, who then grabbed Marcum's arm and escorted him to the principal's office.
The defendants' actions violated Marcum's First and 14th Amendments and violated other civil rights, according to the suit.
At the time, Marcum was charged with obstruction of justice after he refused to stop talking when a police officer asked him to. Logan Circuit Judge Eric O'Briant later dismissed that Thursday.
Lardieri is seeking compensatory damages in the amount of $200,000 and punitive damages in the amount of $250,000. She is being represented by Benjamin F. White of Benjamin F. White-Attorney at Law.
The case is assigned to District Judge Thomas E. Johnston.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 2:15-cv-04822