Officials in Hinsdale Township High School District 86 are backtracking on the suspension of a student who wore a T-shirt depicting an AK-47 to school.

The district will remove the suspension from the record of Chris Borg, 18, a senior who wore a T-shirt depicting an AK-47 to Hinsdale Central High School on May 6, the student said. The shirt also had the words “AKteam” printed on it and the URL for a Kentucky gun club that supports gun rights.

“I’m ecstatic,” Borg said of the decision. “I’m happy. I wasn’t trying to push buttons or be provocative. I was just trying to assert my First Amendment rights.”

Supt. Bruce Law said Wednesday the district has “changed its mind about the rectitude” of the suspension that was issued because it was determined that the image of the gun was unsafe and disruptive to the educational process and was not in keeping with the school’s dress code.

Borg was given the choice to get another shirt to wear, turn it inside or take the suspension. He took the suspension.

The school’s handbook states that students are subject to disciplinary action when they wear clothing that “is deemed vulgar, inappropriate, unsafe or disruptive to the educational process . Examples would include something that advertises or displays alcohol, drugs, tobacco or sexual innuendo.

In the future, Law said the district will try to distinguish between gun-related images that are lawful and do not promote violence and ones that promote violence or illegal activity.

Other images of guns that would be acceptable on clothing would be for branches of the armed services, Law said.

“A lawful activity like a gun club or a military institution is different than an unlawful activity that promotes violence,” Law said.

He said Borg’s shirt was no different from one for a legal club or activity.

“If you had a T-shirt promoting a guitar club you’d have guitar on it,” he said.

Borg appeared before the school board this week to challenge the suspension. He said the suspension was an infringement of his First Amendment right to free expression.

Source: Chicago Tribune