Saturday, April 26, 2003

Nampa Student Told Never To Wear T-shirt Again (CH 2 Idaho News, April 25, 2003)

Park Ridge elementary school officials told 11-year-old Ethan Jansen to stop wearing his military themed T-shirt to school.

The T-shirt depicts a monument at the Fort Lewis military base in Washington state. It shows "Iron mike" hoisting a rifle with a star in the background.

School officials say pictures showing gangs or guns are not allowed in school.

But Ethan's parents call the T-shirt an expression of patriotism.

The Park Ridge elementary administrator Phil Cano also declined an on camera interview. But released a statement which says, "The district dress code prohibits any clothing that may be construed as being violence related," and adds, "we are proud of this student and in fact we support the patriotic theme of the T-shirt but we need to be consistent in providing a safe learning environment for all."

Ethan feels a special connection to the military. "It meant a lot to me because my dad fought at home from Fort Lewis because he's in the army and my family is real patriotic and my uncle and stuff is in the army too."

When Hobbes said that foolish consistency was the hobgoblin of littlel minds, this is to what he referred. All policy must have context. The fact that this school cannot distinguish between gun violence and the military is a reminder of the moral relativism that is everywhere in our society.

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