An attorney who specializes in civil liberties and constitutional rights says school officials in New Jersey could learn a thing or two about those things from one of their America-loving students.

Josh Bruner, 15, wants to follow in his great-grandfather’s footsteps and join the Marines one day. But a few weeks ago, Hunterdon Central Regional High School officials told the patriotic student that his portrait of self-expression for a photography class assignment – a photo showing him holding a shotgun in one hand and an American flag in the other – is unacceptable and violates the school’s gun policy.

John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute disagrees. “I would say his First Amendment rights have been violated,” he tells OneNewsNow.

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“We looked at the school policy and [it] does not prohibit photographs of weapons at all,” the attorney continues. “It deals with actual replicas of weapons or weapons brought into the schools.”

Bruner is a member of the National Rifle Association and a member of two state shooting teams. Whitehead says, rather than backing down, it’s important that the teen stand up for his rights in this situation.

“If you’re exercising your First Amendment rights and a government official – whether it’s the school or policeman or someone working in other governmental agencies – denies you your rights, we either stand up for them or we lose them,” he advises.

Whitehead sees it the episode an opportunity for learning. “… I think this is a good lesson,” he explains. “This young man should teach the school a lesson that he has a better idea of what’s in our Constitution than those who are supposedly teaching him at school.”

Bruner’s mother, Darcy Meys, told Fox News: “If it is okay for people to show pride in their sexuality, why can’t my son show pride in his country?”

Fox News’ Todd Starnes answers her question: “These days Gay Pride is in vogue and American Pride is passe.” He adds that “in this age of tolerance and diversity it’s too bad our public school system can’t be more tolerant of red-blooded American patriots like Josh Bruner.”

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Copyright OneNewsNow.com. Reprinted with permission.

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