New York high school student suspended for NRA pro-2nd Amendment T-shirt

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Shane Kinney, 16, was served a one-day suspension after refusing the vice principal’s to turn this shirt inside out while attending classes at Grand Island High School. (COURTESY OF THE KINNEY FAMILY)


A high school student in upstate New York was suspended for wearing an NRA T-shirt that touted the second amendment after he refused to turn it inside out or cover the words with duct tape.

Shane Kinney, a 16-year-old sophomore from Grand Island, located between Niagara Falls and Buffalo, served a one-day, in-school suspension Monday after he refused last Friday to turn his T-shirt inside out at the request of the vice principal at Grand Island High School. The shirt was emblazoned with the NRA logo and the words, “2nd Amendment Shall not be Infringed” across the back.

“Mr. Lauria [the vice principal] told me I had to either turn the shirt inside out or put duct tape over the words,” Shane Kinney told “I told them that I wasn’t going to do it. I had to sit in the suspension room and eat lunch alone until my father brought me a new shirt to school.”

Kinney, a card-carrying member of the NRA along with his parents, said he 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.

“I would never complain. I just wanted to get through the school year,” Kinney said. Officials at the school cited the dress code which prohibits any clothing that might insight or encourage “violent activities.”

“There was pretty much nothing in the policy about guns. We spoke to the principal about it,” Shane’s father, Wayne Kinney, told He added he discovered that he was also a member of the NRA. “We decided that it was best to let the whole thing drop since Shane already took his suspension.

“I don’t think they would have changed their minds anyway.”

Officials for the Grand Island High School did not immediately return requests for comment, but in a copy of the letter sent to the Kinney home that was provided to, Vice Principal Michael Lauria stated:

“On Friday March 7th, 2014 prior to the start of school, Shane was seen wearing a sweatshirt with the logo of a firearm. Shane was asked to remove the shirt and turn it inside out, or place tape over the logo. Shane was also previously asked not to wear the shirt to school.

“Shane did not listen to the administrator and was later seen wearing a T-shirt with rifles displayed on the back,” the statement continues. “Shane’s actions are insubordinate and in violation of the GICSD Code of Conduct.”

Kinney’s father maintains that there is actually nothing in the student code that bans clothing with the imagery of guns.

While Kinney took his punishment like a good student, he says he’s still not happy with how everything went down.

“I don’t agree with it,” he said. “The NRA does great things and there was nothing wrong with that shirt.

Kinney, who is an avid hunter with a part-time job at the local gun club, says that he believes that he was asked to remove the shirt more for political beliefs than for inappropriateness.

“I’ve worn other shirts before with guns on them,” he said. “I was never asked to cover up. I think this happened because it was an NRA shirt.”

“That’s what I’m leaning towards.”


  • Amy

    Time to pull our kids out of the cess pool called public education. Schools need to focus on teaching not promoting their values and mind sets . It’s pathetic considering schools when I grew up had rifle ranges and rifle teams

    • Kerri

      Actually, interesting post because I somewhat agree with you but then I don't…but 'yep,' come to think of it we had rifle club in middle school when I was growing up…that is a sad thought that we cannot even offer that students today because of 'fear'
      But we also didn't have to be afraid to walk to school, trick or treat, go to a friend's house, be skeptical of certain types of vans, be afraid in parking lots, or banks, — but that doesn't mean because we didn't have to do it then, we don't need to protect ourselves now. This world is sad if you sit back and look how bad it got and the fact that it's not getting any better – actually worse! We can't live by what use to be even though we wish we could!!!

  • Annonymous

    What if he wore a shirt with a picture of swords on it? Would the school have had the same reaction due to the fact that it's a weapon, nonetheless? I don't think so.
    Ok, I see the point of not wanting to promote weapons abuse or violence in anyway at schools, but where did our freedom go? The disappointing part is it's just going to get worse. Soon people will be getting arrested just for saying the word "gun".

  • Kerri

    I hate hunting but that's the only place I draw the lines about guns; but on the other hands, I love guns too – I studied Criminal Justice and could not wait until I was able to do the gun training – in that sense the school has no sympathy from me. I guess after many incidents where a "good student" or "scholarly student" has killed other students we need to enforce ideas like guns but on a t-shirt? I think the only thing wrong here is he was asked not to wear shirts similar to this one and he still wore them, I think that is wrong – it's just defiance not standing for what you believe in. If this was his first day and they pressed him like this, I'd be all for him standing up for his own rights as well but apparently he did this for other personal reasons and as a teen, probably to find out what reaction he could provoke. I don't think the shirt is wrong and I don't think wearing the shirt to school is wrong but even as a mother of two teenagers, I often question the shirts they like to wear with skulls (oldest 16) and 'evil-looking' dinosaurs (youngest 13). There is a certain level of respect to give to schools and other students and I think this student (and perhaps his parents) crossed that line after being asked not to wear the shirt. Again, I don't think there is anything wrong with the shirt or the words but I do think there is something wrong with deliberate defiance. It's not a lot to ask him not to wear the shirt to school, he's got plenty more hours and weekends outside of school to enjoy it. I understand the school has to be a little over-protective after everything that's happened in the past and do whatever it takes from preventing anything that might suggest violence, I can't explain it but I do get this – doesn't mean it should have to be but you can thank the psychos in the past causing these types of "alarms" not the school's rules. In addition, what is so wrong with this child realizing that rules of school are different than what his freedoms might be outside of school? (I 'had' this kid's back until I read he was asked not to wear it (or similar) already)

    • Jason

      Deliberate defiance is how our country was born. It is how we make change in policies that we don't agree with. It is a right guaranteed in the first amendment. All through growing up and in adulthood we are told to stand for what we believe in and now you are telling them to sit down and be quiet. Just because he is in school, doesn't mean he loses his rights. By that logic, no one would have any rights outside their home.
      You are part of the problem in modern America. The whole don't rock the boat mentality is destroying this country from within.

  • crossfireinvest

    What expoused “violence?” Commie sense, not common sense. Yet two girls are told to remove their “I heart boobies” wrist and sue and win. Where is the ACLU for the boy wearing the Constitution!

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.