The Instigator
Mr.sarcastic
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
dmussi12
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points

School student suspended for NRA pro-2nd Amendment T-shirt

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
dmussi12
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/18/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,184 times Debate No: 49235
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (2)

 

Mr.sarcastic

Con

This is a debate on whether or not the New York student should have been suspended for wearing a NRA pro-2nd Amendment T-shirt. I am indeed against these actions.
http://www.washingtonpost.com...

1st Round: Acceptance
2nd Round: Opening arguments
3rd: Round: Rebuttals
4th Round: Closing Arguments
dmussi12

Pro

I accept.

Grand Island High School was not wrong in its decision to suspend the student for refusing to remove a pro-NRA shirt.
Debate Round No. 1
Mr.sarcastic

Con

First off, they had to put he was suspended for "refusing." If it simply read suspended for wearing a NRA Pro- 2nd Amendment T-shirt, people would go insane. Not that they already are not, it just makes it sound like the school did not do as much wrong. I will extend the debate time though. I would like to let my opponent state his reasons for why he felts the school did the right thing and how the student's First Amendment right was not violated. Once he has done so I will post my rebuttals.

Thank you and good luck to my opponent.
dmussi12

Pro

Grand Island High School was completely justified.

It should be noted that I am actually a gun-rights advocate. I don't think any more restrictions should be made on firearms. However, I think education is the most important thing in America, and our schools are constantly harassed and criticized, although they are severely under funded.

Background

The student was wearing a Smith & Wesson (which is a gun manufacturer) shirt to his high school. Administrators asked him to remove the shirt. He complied. Underneath, however, was this NRA shirt:

NRAtee.jpg

As you can see, there are two rifles on the back logo. When administrators asked him to either change the shirt or turn it inside out. When he refused to comply this time, he was given a one day in-school suspension.

School Rules

In the Grand Island Central School District Code of Conduct Policy and Grand Island High School Student-Parent Handbook, the following are recognized.

Students can be subject to discipline for improper dress and insubordination.

Improper Dress: "Any clothing that is unsafe, in poor taste, distracting, or disruptive to the educational process or not in keeping with academic expectations... shirts with drug, alcohol or violence related sayings."

Insubordination: "Failure to comply with the reasonable requests of an administrator, a teacher or a staff member."

It is also mentioned that, "
Students who violate the student dress code shall be required to modify their appearance by covering or removing the offending item and, if necessary or practical, replacing it with an acceptable item. Any student who refuses to do so shall be subject to discipline, up to and including in-school suspension for the day."

My Point

Guns are inherently violent. They are created for the purpose of inflicting damage upon something. A shirt with two guns on it, therefore, contains a violent object. There was no reason for the student to wear either shirt to school, especially since he had been told on other occasions beforehand to change.

This is not a matter of freedom of expression. Students cannot where whatever they choose to school; that is why there is a dress code. Drug-related shirts are expressive, but still not permitted. Schools are meant to educate, and they can do this best by creating and enforcing a safe and moderated environment.

By not complying to the request, the student was also being insubordinate. The request was completely reasonable (it didn't ask him to do anything irrational, harmful, or out of the ordinary).

The school did not act outside of protocol, either. Everything they did was correct procedure according to their code and handbook.

In my opinion (although this does not pertain to the debate), the student showed a lack of discipline by continuously wearing an inappropriate shirt, which is commonly reprimanded by the conservative crowd. I'm surprised that they defended this student and not the school for enforcing its policies.

Rights of Students

Even if you argue that the student's rights were infringed upon, I can counter by saying that the rights are not universal. Children cannot purchase guns. Schools can search lockers without a warrant. I can argue that the rights are not extended to children as they are to adults, but only partially apply. Or, I can argue that since it is the school's property, under the supervision of the administrators, that free expression is not protected. It was decided by the Supreme Court that expression wasn't Constitutionally protected on private property in the case Hudgens vs. National Labor Relations Board.

Sources
http://www.k12.ginet.org...
http://www.k12.ginet.org...
http://www.foxnews.com...
http://www.washingtonpost.com...
http://www.freedomforum.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Mr.sarcastic

Con

"As you can see, there are two rifles on the back logo. When administrators asked him to either change the shirt or turn it inside out. When he refused to comply this time, he was given a one day in-school suspension."
"Improper Dress: "Any clothing that is unsafe, in poor taste, distracting, or disruptive to the educational process or not in keeping with academic expectations... shirts with drug, alcohol or violence related sayings.""

The problem with this is that there was no violation with the dress code that Grand Island High School enforces. A teacher commented about the shirt saying that it was the guns that were what caused her to say something. However, under Grand Island High School"s dress policy, it states that if it is unsafe, in poor taste, distracting, or disruptive to the educational process or not in keeping with academic expectations. The shirt was not unsafe, poor in taste, distracting, or disruptive to the educational process. The guns presented no threat due to lack of the encouragement of violence. It certainly was not poor in taste. And it was by no means distracting or disruptive during class or anytime throughout the school day. The only reason Shane Kinney, the 16-year-old sophomore from Grand Island [1], was asked to turn the shirt inside out or remove it was because the teacher simply did not like it. That"s it, nothing else. Now, just because the teacher doesn"t approve of it does not mean the school is obligated to request the shirt be covered up in some way. There was no violation in the dress code policy.

"Guns are inherently violent. They are created for the purpose of inflicting damage upon something. A shirt with two guns on it, therefore, contains a violent object. There was no reason for the student to wear either shirt to school, especially since he had been told on other occasions beforehand to change."

When you mention that guns are inherently violent, this doesn"t really prove a point. The gun is not the problem, it"s the person behind that gun. It is unfair to the gun to be portrayed as a "bad" thing. Without guns how would many Americans protect themselves? It"s similar to dogs. Say a student wears a shirt with a pit bull or some other dog that it inherently portrayed as a "bad" dog. It is not the dog, but the people who raise it. Another thing I may mention is that the school prohibits any sayings that may be violent. A gun is not a violent saying. It is not violent nor a saying. The NRA is about firearm competency, safety, and ownership, as well as police training, marksmanship, hunting, and self-defense training in the United States [2]. There was a purpose behind the shirt and why he wear it. First off, the shirt was a Pro- 2nd Amendment shirt, it is a shirt that shows his love of American heritage. The NRA is also a non-violent organization who has many youth programs. NRA Youth Programs offer many opportunities for youths who are interested in the shooting sports and our firearms heritage [3]. In addition, he wear the shirt because he, along with his parents, are proud that they are part of the NRA.

"Drug-related shirts are expressive, but still not permitted. Schools are meant to educate, and they can do this best by creating and enforcing a safe and moderated environment."

Drug related shirts may be expressive, however, they are encouraging bad behavior and would disrupt class order. If a student wear a drug related shirt, there is much certainty that it would be non-educational. The NRA is much different, they are an educational organization. Informing all ages about, as I mentioned before, safety, ownership, competency, etc.

"By not complying to the request, the student was also being insubordinate. The request was completely reasonable (it didn't ask him to do anything irrational, harmful, or out of the ordinary)."

"The school did not act outside of protocol, either. Everything they did was correct procedure according to their code and handbook."

The request should not have even been presented. This is the problem. He never did anything wrong, as I have obviously mentioned earlier. Another thing I mentioned before is that the student did not violate any rules in the handbook.

"Even if you argue that the student's rights were infringed upon, I can counter by saying that the rights are not universal. Children cannot purchase guns. Schools can search lockers without a warrant."

I am unclear by your statement referring to children not being able to purchase firearms. If the point you are trying to reach is that if a minor cannot buy a gun then why can they wear a shirt with one on it? If this is what you mean then that is ludicrous. By those standards you are saying that a kid cannot wear a shirt with a dog simply because he or she cannot adopt one.

"Or, I can argue that since it is the school's property, under the supervision of the administrators, that free expression is not protected. It was decided by the Supreme Court that expression wasn't Constitutionally protected on private property in the case Hudgens vs. National Labor Relations Board."

Okay, this case that you provided is irrelevant to the topic. There was a public disturbance, along with trespassing [4]. It was an obvious ruling.

May I mention that the school actually wasn"t even worried about the guns on his shirt, but the words on his shirt. They asked him to put duct tape over something that is in the Constitution! That is absolutely absurd. How can you justify those actions? Also, he had worn shirts before with guns on them and no one said a thing. But as soon as he wear a shirt with the NRA on it he was instructed to cover up the words. I am unsure by what words he was supposed to cover up. If it was indeed the "2nd Amendment Shall not be Infringed" or if it was the logo NRA with that writing. Either way it was an unnecessary action. [1]

As you can see, I have contradicted all main points made by my opponent and added some of my own. Thank you and I look forward to the next round.

[1] http://www.foxnews.com...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://youth.nra.org...
[4] http://www.casebriefs.com...
dmussi12

Pro

"The problem with this is that there was no violation with the dress code that Grand Island High School enforces."

The district code of conduct policy also contains a clause that says clothing should "Not promote and/or endorse... illegal or violent activities." As I explained, guns are inherently violent- they are designed to inflict damage (violent is defined as "using or involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something"). This shirt depicting guns was encouraging violence; it supported the sale/ownership of firearms, under protection of the 2nd Amendment. Again, I am not against gun ownership, but I do recognize their violent nature. I don't understand how you can think that the shirt did not encourage violence when it clearly depicted two rifles.


"The gun is not the problem, it"s the person behind that gun."

This doesn't prove a point either. Of course the person using the gun is liable, but the point is that a gun is being used. You could use that argument for any inanimate object in the world, but it does not change the nature of the object.


"Say a student wears a shirt with a pit bull or some other dog that it inherently portrayed as a "bad" dog. It is not the dog, but the people who raise it."

This is a faulty analogy, as dogs can be used for many reasons, including companionship or to help disabled people. Guns are only used to damage people, animals, or targets. Yes, target shooting is violent. Not harmful, but violent- it inflicts damage. There is no legitimate use for a gun that doesn't involve violence (by legitimate I mean real- not like using it as a paperweight or something similar).


"A gun is not a violent saying. It is not violent nor a saying."

Of course it is not a saying, but it is still violent, and the code states that clothes shouldn't promote or endorse violent activities. Using a gun is a violent activity. Plus, the saying about the 2nd Amendment is obviously about guns, and is, of course, a saying.


"The request should not have even been presented. This is the problem. He never did anything wrong, as I have obviously mentioned earlier. Another thing I mentioned before is that the student did not violate any rules in the handbook."

I explained already that it was a valid request, and you will most likely dispute it again, so I will now address his insubordination. Did the vice principal make a reasonable request? I don't see how it was unreasonable; it did not compel the student to do anything morally questionable or obscure. Did the student refuse to comply with the request? Yes. That is the definition of insubordination, which carries punishment up to a one-day suspension. You could argue that the request was unreasonable. However, the student "had worn the shirt to school before, along with others that were similar, and had been asked to put duct tape over the writing. He said he complied because he didn't want to make waves." Obviously, he did not see the request as unreasonable before, as he complied, but he decided to object this time, and suffered the consequences. Again, these rules exist to enforce an educational model promoting discipline. I still don't understand how the student could be so thick as to wear the shirt multiple times and still not learn from the past.


My references to children buying guns and the Supreme Court case were made to pre-counter an argument based on the 1st Amendment. I didn't mean to digress from the topic at hand, but simply to make sure that you would not make a dead-end argument on expression or Constitutional rights.


"May I mention that the school actually wasn"t even worried about the guns on his shirt, but the words on his shirt."

I agree that this was a strange route to take, but it still was not an unreasonable request and therefore is subject to the rules on insubordination.


"Also, he had worn shirts before with guns on them and no one said a thing."

This is untrue, as mentioned above quote from the Fox News article. He had worn this shirt before, and similar ones, and had complied with requests before.


I did not use any new sources except for the Google Dictionary to define 'violent.' All others can be found in above 'Sources' sections.
Debate Round No. 3
Mr.sarcastic

Con

Mr.sarcastic forfeited this round.
dmussi12

Pro

Arguments extended. Vote PRO!
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by KentheKilted 6 months ago
KentheKilted
"Of course it is not a saying, but it is still violent, and the code states that clothes shouldn't promote or endorse violent activities. Using a gun is a violent activity. Plus, the saying about the 2nd Amendment is obviously about guns, and is, of course, a saying."

So what if my kid wears a shirt to school with a longbow and deer with a beautiful wilderness background? How about a sword in the hands of an armor clad knight, because the T-shirt is a reference to a medieval movie and TV series? These objects have no more use than a gun does, according to your logic. They are used to take life, defend, and kill.

We live in a day in age where we call our Semi-Auto rifles our "Swords". They are symbolic , more than anything.
Posted by Mr.sarcastic 2 years ago
Mr.sarcastic
They had to put he was suspended for "refusing." If it simply read suspended for wearing a NRA Pro- 2nd Amendment T-shirt, people would go insane. Not that they already are not, it just makes it sound like the school did not do as much wrong. I will extend the debate time though.
Posted by dmussi12 2 years ago
dmussi12
I will accept if you make the argument time 72 hours. I will try to respond promptly, but I will be away from internet access this weekend so the time constraint makes it difficult for me.
Posted by dmussi12 2 years ago
dmussi12
He wasn't suspended for the shirt, he was suspended for insubordination.
Posted by Mr.sarcastic 2 years ago
Mr.sarcastic
You could just look it up
Posted by Raisor 2 years ago
Raisor
Delete this debate and recreate it with a link to whatever news story you are referring to. No one knows what this debate is referring to.
Posted by psyduck 2 years ago
psyduck
Tinker v Des Moins pretty much makes con case an easy win
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by noprisu 2 years ago
noprisu
Mr.sarcasticdmussi12Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: I am disappointed in Con for the forfeit, so conduct to Pro. There were a few mistakes in Cons rebuttals in terms of grammar, but nothing too hampering in understanding his thoughts. Pros argument was founded on a few simple contentions that made his case: Guns were inherently violent, the kid was being disorderly, and that the school followed the code. This was argued intelligently and eloquently in a concise format. Con attempted to dismiss some arguments based on analogies and baseless claims. Pro refuted these analogies as faulty and attacked the claims successfully. The sources were the same because both cited the correct sources.
Vote Placed by Relativist 2 years ago
Relativist
Mr.sarcasticdmussi12Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture warrants loss of conduct. Pro made a good argument that the school was simply complying with its own set of regulation and that the shirt was 'somewhat' violent. This was however abandoned by Con as he continues to argue on a different set of rules. That is a clear point awarded to pro. Con made a point by point rebuttals which were effective, but was immediatly contested by Pro. Con then forfeits leaving a clear win for Pro.