The newest installment of The Progressive’s McCarthyism Watch focuses on the plight of eighth-grader Stephen Truszkowski from Middletown, Delaware, whose choice of attire has evoked threats of suspension. The t-shirt, made by Stephen’s stepbrother, had two handwritten messages on it:

On the front it said, "The Real Terrorist Is in the White House."

On the back, "End the Tyranny."

Claude McAllister is the principal at Everett Meredith Middle School in Middletown, Delaware, and he didn't take kindly to Truszkowski's shirt. The 13-year-old had worn it to school two times before, according to the News Journal, which broke the story. Both times he had complied with the school's demand that he take the shirt off or put something over it. But this time he wanted to challenge the school's policy.


"I wore the shirt to school, and they told me to cover it up, and I just refused," he
says. "The school counselor came to my homeroom and he took me to the principal's office, and I spent all first period arguing with the principal about whether the shirt was appropriate or not."

Truszkowski says the principal admitted to having a personal stake in the issue. "He said he was angry because he had a son and a nephew over there," Truszkowski says. "I said I respected them 100 percent, but I didn't respect the reason why they were over there."

According to Truszkowski, Principal McAllister said he was being disruptive and told him that "some of our rights stop right there when we walk through the school door."

McAllister also called Truszkowski a terrorist and taunted him by saying that he should wear a shirt that says, "I'm a terrorist," Truszkowski recalls.

"Why would I do that?" he says he asked the principal.

"Because you're pretty much just splitting the school in half," McAllister said, according to the student.
So, let me get this straight. Stephen should wear a shirt that says, “I’m a terrorist,” because he is splitting the school in half by wearing a shirt that says, “The Real Terrorist is in the White House.” If politically splitting a school in half makes someone a terrorist, then what, pray tell, would Mr. McAllister call someone who splits an entire country? If, by chance, it’s a terrorist, then I believe that makes Stephen’s shirt rather accurate by Mr. McAllister’s own definition. I suppose the only bone he might have to pick with the sentiment is that Bush should be wearing the shirt, instead of Stephen.

McAllister did not return my phone call. Nor did the superintendent of the Appoquinimink School District. It has a policy that says students can't wear clothes that are distracting or that hinder the educational process, the News Journal noted. Lillian Miles, a district spokeswoman, told the paper that Truszkowski's shirt "has now become a distraction."
I don’t suppose that has anything to do with the kid being called down to the principal’s office each time he wears it.
Truszkowski himself is eager to challenge the school's policies-in court, if he has to.

"I'm not fighting it just for me or anything," he says. " I want students in fourth or fifth grade and students in the future to be able to express themselves on issues without being suspended."
Stephen’s story is just the latest in a string of stories about heavy-handed tactics being used against proponents of this administration. It starts from the top down. When torture tactics are used without hesitation, when our intelligence agencies are purged of those who refuse to march in lockstep, when groups of dissenters are infiltrated by government operatives, we can expect nothing less of those who share the administration’s views when they find themselves in a position of authority over anyone who disagrees.

Children will be punished, people will be fired, and families will be harassed; this cannot let us dampen our determination. Indeed, these continued assaults on the demonstrations of our sensibilities should serve to motivate us as we persist in our efforts to hold back this tide of subjugation. It waits to wash over this great land at the first sign of a flagging vigilance against its current.

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