Justified or not: a fresh view of Borg’s clothing decision


On Thursday May 8th, Chris Borg, senior, walked into school wearing a shirt with the outline of an AK-47 assault rifle above URL of the Kentucky Armory Club on the very bottom. Shortly after entering the school, Borg was reprimanded, and sent to the deans’ office, threatened with suspension if he did not remove the shirt.

Borg stuck to his “guns” and would not take the shirt off. He was given the choice to take it off, turn it inside out, or go home. Borg chose the last of the three options, leaving school prematurely.

Although Borg was threatened with various consequences, the resulting decision was complete dismissal from the school board.

“The rule they got me on was that the shirt was unsafe and disruptive to the educational process,” Borg said. “The appeals process started at the board of education meeting. I technically never filled for an appeal. They backtracked after multiple national news agencies started to report on it. It was appealed on that, I believe, since Superintendent Law said he wasn’t going to investigate it, then ended up doing just that.”

The question that remains was did the school board make the correct decision originally in attempting to punish Borg; that answer is no.

Through the shirt was originally viewed to be, “unsafe and disruptive to the educational process,” the shirt was linked to other dangers, such as drugs and alcohol, being a negative influence to those in school.

While I’m not writing this to get into any kind of controversial gun control argument, I would have to disagree that the shirt promotes drugs or alcohol.

The shirt was essentially an advertisement for the Kentucky Armory Club, which is a completely legal recreational facility that operates by the use of firearms. Guns are undoubtedly dangerous; that’s not the idea in question. The fact of the matter remains that firearm use in many cases is a completely legal and recreational activity to participate in.

As hard as it may be to separate, the sport should be completely detached from the negative connotations that many associate with firearms. The shirt should be detached from these connotations as well.

Terrible things have happened with firearms. I know that. You know that. We all know that. However, that dangerous pretext must be separated from this shirt. It in no way glorifies violence and is in no way a disruption. All it really displays is an advertisement for an age old legal activity in which the people of the United States continue to participate.

After the irrational connotations of the shirt, the real argument comes from whether or not it should be allowed in a public high school, where kids are learning to grow and develop. As I understand why shirts with images of drugs, sex, or alcohol, should not be allowed in public schools. What sets this particular shirt apart, however, is that illegal drugs, alcohol, and irresponsibly sexual shirts are all widely regarded as negative influences for high school students.

They don’t necessarily have practical, rational uses for kids in high school. Not to mention, they are, for the most part, illegal firearms. On the other hand, when separated from that negative connotation that they have earned over the years, recreational firearms, such as the one depicted on Borg’s shirt, actually have no dangerous purpose for kids in high school and are completely within the law.

While I’m probably the very last person to go shoot an AK-47 on the weekends for fun at a range, when regulated and used within the law, it definitely does not have the danger and irresponsibility associated with the illegal drugs, sex, and alcohol usage.

Lastly, apart from the rationale of the argument, this shirt absolutely does not “disrupt the educational process” more that any old T-Shirt does. It is definitely different, but the material on the shirt is not disruptive to the educational process in the way that other banned clothing items are.

All this issue comes down to is the preconceived notions of firearms that many have, coupled with the fact that it was worn in a school with thousands of kids. While the administration’s argument is definitely understandable, once looked at closer, the logic for abolishment of shirts of this kind is not sound, as it does not break any of the school rules or encourage dangerous or poor decision making from high school students. The school appeared to acknowledge this by eventually dropping the punishment process.