Haley Bullwinkle, a sophomore at Canyon High School in Orange, California, and her parents have received an unconditional apology from Michael Christensen, the Superintendent of Schools, Orange County Unified School District, for the school’s indefensible actions after attorneys from the National Rifle Association contacted the school district. Ms. Bullwinkle was ordered to change her NRA shirt by a school staff member and was referred to the school counseling office by a security officer after her t-shirt was deemed to depict violence. The full text of the memo from the school district received via email is below:
Sent on behalf of Michael L. Christensen, Superintendent of Schools, Orange Unified School District:
Response to Canyon High School NRA Shirt Incident
Canyon High School has a policy prohibiting clothing depicting or promoting violence. In this incident, a student was referred to the counseling office by a security officer because she was wearing a shirt with a logo that included a rifle. The student was instructed by a staff member to change her shirt and was provided another shirt to wear.
The parents contacted the principal a week after the incident to express concern. At that time, the principal was unaware of the incident and provided an initial response regarding the school policy on clothing that depicts violence. After reviewing pictures of the shirt, the principal determined that the shirt logo does not promote violence.
The family was contacted and advised that wearing the shirt was not contrary to the school dress code policy and the student will be permitted to wear the shirt. The student and family received an apology and assurance that training will be provided to staff so an incident like this does not occur again.