School Forces Kid to Cover Star Wars Shirt
Dad Joe Southern claims First Amendment violation
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2015 8:07 AM CST

(Newser) – A Texas school has gone to the dark side, at least according to the father of a student who attends it. School officials at George Junior High in Rosenberg made the first move last Thursday when they forced 7th grader Colton Southern to cover up his T-shirt depicting a Stormtrooper (of the Star Wars variety) wielding a (fictional) blaster, KTRK reports. A district rep explains the dress code prohibits "symbols oriented toward violence," and school officials point out they went easy on Colton, who could have been hit with an in-school suspension for the violation. In response, Colton's dad, Joe Southern, has lobbed accusations of "political correctness run amok," saying that Colton being forced to zip up his jacket over the shirt constitutes a violation of the First Amendment.

As far as guns go, the Telegraph notes Texas has pretty lenient gun laws, and some 850,000 residents of the Lone Star State have concealed carry permits (that's about 1 in every 32 residents). But Southern tells KTRK Colton's wearing of the shirt "has nothing to do with guns or making a stand." Ultimately, "It’s just a Star Wars shirt," Southern says, adding that his son had worn it to school several times previously. Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens Friday. In November, Lucasfilm contacted cosplay groups and told them to leave their blasters at home when they go to see the film, IGN reports. Many theaters, IGN notes, already prohibit masks and replica weapons. (Some have said that this Chinese poster for The Force Awakens is racist.)