Feel free to express yourself? Not so fast.
New Jersey high school tells 15 year-old boy his self-expression is against school policy.
With all the recent uproar about ensuring that kids from preschool age through college are provided safe spaces and the freedom to express themselves in any form they desire in school, there seems to be one area in which schools still get to tell kids that who they are is not special or something to be celebrated.
An assignment was given in a photography class at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Ringoes, New Jersey, to take a self-portrait representing self-expression. A 15-year-old boy named Joshua Bruner, a student in that class, looked forward to his chance to express himself and was excited to share who he is with his classmates as well as school faculty. Unfortunately, he quickly found that his self-expression was not going to be allowed due to school policy.
Should you be asking yourself, how can a school in this day and age where anything goes as far as self-expression is concerned, even think to dismiss what this boy identifies himself as, you are not alone.
Is the problem with his gender identity, no. His ethnicity, no. His sexual preference, not at all. His religion, no, not even that. So, what could’ve caused such a reaction to this boy’s self-expression? Well, when you meet Joshua you will understand.
Joshua may be a 15 year-old boy but he has a passion for his country like we rarely see even in adults these days. He serves as a United States Sea Cadet, is a member of two state shooting teams, and happens to be a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. He wrote an essay recently in which he explained what ignited his passion and resolve to do his part to protect and defend the United States of America and the American values which he holds sacred.
Joshua hits the proverbial nail on its head with an excerpt in his own words from his essay, What Makes America Great [https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cOr6b-yfMK5jMNGttd0BxSnQHwUHHbigQZV99hFbVBM] “So yes we have the baseball, football and ice hockey. We have the freedom to go out at 3:00 am to get a hot dog from WAWA. We can be Jewish, Christian, Muslim or atheist. We have fireworks, hot dogs, lemonade, a melting pot of restaurants that serve food from every country out there. Dancing with the Stars, The Hunger Games, Everyone's got Talent, I can go on and on. But why do we have all of these things? Because of the brave men and women who stand up for our rights and protect us. That is what makes America great to me. “
Unfortunately, even in this great country where anyone can be anything they want, you are still not allowed to present a photograph of yourself waving the American flag and holding a firearm as your self-expression for a high school photography class assignment.
The teacher wrote to Joshua’s mom, Darcy Meys, that,“The rules of our school prohibit students from using artwork depicting themselves or another person with any weapon,”
Upon researching the school’s policy Ms. Meys believes that policy refers to guns and/or weapons on school property and not simply a photograph of a gun.
“Josh was just showing pride for his country and who he is as a shooter and as a kid who wants to be in the Marines and protect his country and follow in his grandfather’s footsteps,” she stated in an interview with Todd Starnes of Fox News “He was not dressed inappropriately. He was not holding the gun incorrectly and He was respecting the flag.”
Hunterdon Central Regional High School has since agreed to grade Josh’s photograph. However, the teacher maintains that publishing his work of self-expression could be detrimental to his fellow students as well as the school faculty. As she made note of in correspondence with Ms. Meys, “He will not be able to upload the image to our server, post them to his Google site or display them in his presentation. We would like to recognize his work on the portrait but limit the possibility that the photo can be taken out of context.”
Out of context? Seriously, how can a young man holding the The Stars and Stripes in one hand and a Remington pump action 12-gauge in the other, be taken out of context? This argument presented by the teacher is not limited to the usual Progressive attack on our Second Amendment protected right to bear arms, this is now an intrusion on this young man’s First Amendment protected right to express himself and his opinions freely.
It seems to be all the rage these days to extend and celebrate the freedom to identify and express yourself as anything you want, so long as you are not identifying as a red-blooded American patriot holding our flag and a gun.
As far as we at 1mmagc.org are concerned, we are proud to call Ms. Meys, and her son Joshua, our friends. We count it as a great honor to be able to share his work and vision with you. America needs more people who have the heart and drive of this young man. We need to stand up and say, we are proud of our heritage and invested in our legacy. We will no longer be bullied by those who would attempt to steal our voice, and with it, our inherent rights. We will stand, flag and gun in hand. We are brave and we are free. We are Americans.
Blog posts are original content written by 1MMAGC moms and dads.