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Orcutt student asked to change shirt that school calls a distraction

UPDATED, 10-11-16: A Central Coast High School tells a student to change his shirt after administrators felt it was a distraction and sexually suggestive.

In a story you will only see on KCOY, we talked to the student who says it’s his right to wear what he wants. The t-shirt that got 11th grader Brett Abel in trouble caused quite a stir at Orcutt Academy High School.

“On September 6th, my school informed me that my shirt was offensive and sexually suggestive,” student Brett Abel said.

The shirt’s front shows Bill Clinton’s face with the word “RAPE” under it. Abel was asked to change his shirt. He then picked up the phone and called the American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU.

“And they’re now defending me and trying to get the school to change their policies,” Abel said.

Abel says it’s his right to wear this t-shirt.

“Pretty much I wore this shirt because I want people to know that Bill Clinton is a rapist and that people should look it up and find out more,” Abel said.

Orcutt Academy High School Principal Rhett Carter says that they can’t talk on camera about this situation because lawyers are involved but said they have zero tolerance for disruptions to students and teachers in the classroom.

Orcutt Academy’s Dress and Grooming policy reads in part:

Clothing, jewelry and personal items shall be free of writing, pictures or any other insignia which are crude, vulgar, profane or sexually suggestive…

or which advocate racial, ethnic or religious prejudice.

The administration will make final decisions regarding dress code interpretation.

“Teachers tend not to like my t-shirts but the students always like them, they always compliment my shirts,” Abel said.

He’s been wearing controversial shirts all year long. On Monday he was wearing a “Hillary for Prison 2016” shirt.

“I just think people aren’t informed and they need to start doing some research with this upcoming election,” Abel said.

UPDATED, 10-11-16: Monday’s story sparked a heated discussion on our Facebook page and on our website – some people saying that this is a violation of this student’s free speech while others said there’s a dress code in place that he needs to abide by.

“You should wear whatever you want, you should be free for whatever you want, this is a free country, so I think they did wrong, kid’s just wearing a shirt,” father Juan Yanez said.

“I do believe in free speech but in a school setting I don’t think it’s appropriate,” mother Shannon Power said.

“We do have dress codes imposed in the school system just like we would at work and you need to operate within the confines of those limits and it’s just not a free for all out there,” mother Kathleen Ketz said.

Student Brett Abel referenced Education Code 48950.

“The Education code says any school or charter school must allow people to allow shirts that would be constitutionally protected outside of school,” Abel said.

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