ACLU Sues New Jersey School Over Gun Photo Censorship
Lacey Township, NJ –-(-)- The New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is suing Lacey Township High School on behalf of two students that the school suspended for posting two pictures of legally owned guns on their social media.
Student Cody Conroy and another unidentified student shared two pictures of guns through the photo-sharing app Snapchat. The first picture was captioned “I know where I am going if there is a zombie apocalypse.”
The second picture that the students shared did not have a caption, but it seemed to be in response to the first picture that was shared. The parents of the students legally owned the guns in the photos and the students did not break any laws.
The students did not take or shared any of the photos at the school. The students took the photos at a firing range with their parents. The students also did not make any threats with the pictures yet once the school became aware of the photos from the outing both students received a five day in school suspension from the administration.
Initially, the school district claimed they did not suspend the two students because of the photo, but the school board refused to say why they chose to punish the two students. At a school board meeting back in March where parents of the students and others showed up to protest the punishment handed down to the pair it then became apparent that the school did issue the students in school suspension over the pictures.
The issue stems from the school’s Policy 5611 which is its “weapons” policy. School board attorney Chris Supsie said it was designed to align with the U.S. Secret Service Safe School Initiative which was put into place after Columbine and the New Jersey’s Zero Tolerance for Guns Act.
Supsie said that the policy is currently being re-written for clarity. The policy will now only apply to criminal activity involving a firearm, an illegally possessed gun, or a firearm taken onto school property or a school bus. It would no longer apply to firearms being used legally off school property.
The ACLU is claiming that Lacey Township High School violated the First Amendment right of the students by punishing them for a legal activity that took place away from the school.
“I’m filing this suit so that no one at my high school in the future has to feel like the First Amendment wasn’t meant to include them,” Cody Conroy said in the news release from the ACLU.
The lawsuit demands a statement from the district saying the school violated the constitutional rights of the students, removing the suspension from their permanent student records, a promise from the district not to discipline students for constitutionally protected speech outside of school, and revisions to school policies to reflect that promise.
The law firm Pashman Stein Walder Hayden will be representing the students in the court case along with the ACLU-NJ.
Lacey Township High School would not comment on the pending court case.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%’ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.