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TRI In The News

Whitehead: Students Stood up for 1st Amendment

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Officials at a California high school have admitted they were wrong to reprimand two students for wearing NRA t-shirts.

One girl at Lodi High School was kicked out of her history class for wearing the t-shirt. She and another girl, also wearing an NRA shirt, were then lectured by the teacher who told them guns are bad.

John Whitehead, a civil liberties attorney who leads The Rutherford Institute, says he applauds the girls for refusing to remove their shirts.

"Free speech, as we used to know it, is either going to go down the tube if people don't start standing up for it," says Whitehead, who is known for fighting for free speech and fighting against government censorship.

"And I'm glad," he adds, "that these students said, Hey, we're gonna speak back on this issue. We're gonna talk back. We're gonna speak truth to power."

Lodi High administrators had no choice but to admit the shirts did not violate dress code policy because no weapon was depicted on the shirts.

The shirts in question had the NRA logo on the front and red, white and blue shell casings on the back arranged in the form of an American flag, according to Fox News.

"We've got to stop this, folks or we're going to lose our rights," warns Whitehead. "Because if you don't have free speech, what happens is when people don't have free speech and they can't talk to each other and discuss these issues rationally, you stop thinking. And that's what governments want when they want to rule over you."

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