Adam Stroub, a parent of a 3rd-grade student attending Durand Area Schools, has filed a lawsuit against the district, alleging his child’s rights were violated during “hat day” in February. The suit claims the child was prevented from wearing the hat during hat day. The hat in question featured the image of an AR-15 rifle and the words “Come and Take It.” The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
The suit calls out three school district employees including Durand Superintendent Craig McCrumb, Robert Kerr Elementary School Principal Amy Leffel and Michael Papanek, a behavioral support staff member.
Superintendent McCrumb responded to an email that he was not able to comment on the “advice of our attorneys.”
Adam Stroub has not responded to an effort to contact him as of press time. Stroub’s attorney, John R. Monroe of Dawsonville, GA, confirmed via a phone call on Wednesday, May 18 his office had filed the suit. Monroe explained the child had wanted to wear the item to hat day, had worn it to school and was made to remove the hat by Papanek and Leffel, though McCrumb was present in the decision.
The attorney explained school officials will now have to respond to the complaint/filing and “depending on the nature of the response, what happens next might vary.” Monroe shared he has been involved in four similar cases, though the others involved shirts and/or sweatshirts, instead of a hat.
A California based nonprofit, the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) with an active Facebook presence, supports the case. In a recent post, the admin(s) of the page shared, “We’re happy to announce a new FPC – supported federal lawsuit against the superintendent of Durand (Michigan) Area Schools, the principal of Robert Kerr School and a Robert Kerr School staff member for violating a third-grader’s First and Fourteenth amendment rights when they prevented her from wearing a hat…”
The Facebook page also quotes attorney John R. Monroe of Dawsonville, GA, as saying, “The Supreme Court ruled 50 years ago that schoolchildren do not shed their Fiest Amendment rights at the schoolhouse gate.” Monroe confirmed saying the statement.
Durand Area Schools does, of course, have a dress code policy. The student dress code is addressed in the school handbook and available on the school website at Durand.k12.mi.us. The handbook guidelines tackle topics such as disallowing clothing that “disrupts the educational process” or clothing advertising items prohibited to minors. The dress code also stresses to avoid wearing clothing with possible “inflammatory messages.”