Student not allowed to wear gun rights t-shirt sparks free speech lawsuit

Posted at 11:56 AM, Feb 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-23 12:56:50-05

WALES, Wisconsin  — A high school student in Wisconsin is speaking out against his school’s dress code after they said a picture of a gun on a t-shirt was not allowed.

"I got it because I like the shirt," said Robert Newhouse.

Newhouse is not old enough to own a gun, but he said he is a gun rights supporter.

"They're really fun. it's great to use to go hunting. I like hunting," said Newhouse.

He says he was confused when we he was told he couldn’t wear his shirt, which had a rifle with the words “Pew Professional” written underneath.

"Just to have a picture to be a supporter of our gun rights and be a supporter of just legal ownership of guns, it was very upsetting," said Kimberly Newhouse, Robert’s mother.

The teenager continued to wear the shirt until his mother received a letter from the school which read, in part:

“We do not allow students to wear clothes that depict guns (or alcohol, drugs, etc.) … Moving forward, Robert cannot wear any items of clothing that depict guns.”

Another classmate faced similar discipline for wearing a shirt with a Wisconsin Carry, Inc. logo, a gun rights organization.

"If a school sanctions a walkout for gun control and to call for gun control, to call for universal background checks, to call for red flag laws, certainly they should at least allow students to wear a non-violent, non-threatening shirt as they go about their daily business,” said Nick Clark, the group’s CEO.

Newhouse is hoping the lawsuit will allow him to wear the shirt again.

"I definitely feel like it isn't fair because I see other people expressing their other beliefs I may disagree with but i'm not going after them because of that,” Robert said. “I feel like I'm getting targeted because of my political beliefs."

The Kettle Moraine School declined to comment, citing pending litigation.