Hat Day Controversy: Durand Family Suing School After Third Grader’s AR-15 Hat Shot Down
A Durand family claims their third-grade daughter's rights were violated after she was asked not to wear a hat depicting an AR-15 rifle and the text 'Come and Take it.'
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Adam Stroub says his daughter picked out the hat to wear for hat day in February at Robert Kerr Elementary School in Durand. He says he was contacted by the school's On Track coach and principal, who both said the headgear was inappropriate.
The hat, which shows a picture of an AR-15 rifle, a white star, and the words, 'Come and Take it" is said in the lawsuit to portray the right to keep and bear arms in a non-violent, non-threatening manner and contains 'pure speech.'
Three School Employees Named in Federal Lawsuit
The suit, filed on May 9 in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, names Durand Area SWchools Superintendent Craig McCrumb, the school's principal Amy Leffel, and the school's 'On-Track' coach Michael Papenek as defendants.
The lawsuit claims the student understood what was represented by the hat, supports the right to keep and bear arms, and enjoys shooting sports, according to Mlive.
When contacted by school officials, Stroub says he emailed school principal Amy Leffel who then responded to say the child was not permitted to wear the hat.
“The hat in question had a picture of an AR type weapon on the front of it. Weapons of any kind are not appropriate for students to wear in a school setting,” Leffel said, according to the lawsuit.
Stroub argues that his daughter's choice of headgear did not violate the school's dress code which only bans words and slogans that promote illegal substances, or have themes that are violent, vulgar, racially, or religiously offensive, or bear sexual innuendo.
The suit claims the slogan and picture on the hat do not portray violence. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the child by her father seeks a declaration that wearing the hat in question is constitutionally-protected speech, according to the Detroit News.